By Leman Mammadova
Cotton growing can give a serious impetus to the development of the light industry in the country. The development of cotton growing is of particular importance for the permanent employment of the rural population, and the strengthening of the livestock breeding base.Some 216,403 tons of cotton have been delivered to cotton collection points as of November 27.Most of the cotton was harvested in Saatli (28,391 tons), Barda (23,571 tons), Agjabadi (21,952 tons), Bilasuvar (20,563 tons) and Beylagan districts (20,285 tons), according to the Agriculture Ministry.Compared to the same period of last year, cotton harvest increased by 13.1 percent in 2018. Harvest still continues on the fields. For every kilogram of cotton handed to state processing enterprises, farmers are given 0.10 manat subsidy.In order to encourage farmers to sow cotton crops and increase their material wellbeing, purchase prices of cotton varieties have been increased by 50 manats ($ 29.42) per ton. The price of the first grade product for the 2018 has been increased from 600 to 650 manats ($ 353.05-382.47), the second grade – from 580 to 630 manats ($ 341.28-370.70), the third grade – from 540 to 590 manats ($ 317.74-347.16), the fourth grade – from 500 to 550 manats ($ 294.21-323.63).There is a rich tradition and great potential for the development of cotton growing in Azerbaijan. In early 1913, cotton was planted in over 100,000 hectares of land and 65,000 tons of crops were produced in Azerbaijan. Cotton was the main source of income in Shirvan, Mughan-Salyan and Mil-Karabakh. In the 1980s, cotton production in Azerbaijan decreased due to the low purchasing price of crude cotton in the world market, the high cost of the product, and the weak development of the domestic light industry.Now, a comprehensive approach to this area is needed to achieve the revival of the industry. One of the important conditions for the competitiveness of cotton industry in the world market is the provision of manufacturers with better quality seeds.In early 2017, the State Program for 2017-2022 was approved with an aim of strengthening measures directed at developing this sphere. The purpose of the State Program is to develop cotton growing, increase export potential in this sphere, ensure employment of the rural population and increase the production of cotton.The new goal of the state is to bring the cotton production up to 500,000 tons by 2022 from the current 260,000 tons.