The Business Year

Zafar Novruzov

AZERBAIJAN - Agriculture

From The Ground Up

General Director, Shamkir Agropark

Bio

Zafar Novruzov graduated from Azerbaijan University of Economics (2004-2008) with a degree in International Economical Relations. Later, between 2008-2010, he studied Business Administration in Université de Bretagne Sud in France. Additionally, Novruzov studied Chain Market Management in Lille 2 University of France in 2013-2014. In regard to working experience, he worked as a research fellow for the European market for six months, and has experience in marketing and management with several projects and companies. Finally, he was appointed as the General Director of Shamkir Agropark project in 2014.

TBY talks to Zafar Novruzov, General Director of Shamkir Agropark, on the creation of the park, products, and export destinations.

Which steps led to the creation of Agropark in 2014?

On February 12th, 2013, President of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev said, “I think there are already conditions for creation of Agropark.” We appreciated this sentence at the right time and since then we have commenced our research within internal and external markets. Firstly, we looked into the history, development path, and the management mechanisms of already existing Agroparks around the globe. This research included, but was not limited to, the investigation of their products, supply, processing, and sales policies. During this research into the market, we understood that not only are there real conditions in Azerbaijan for the launch of agricultural institutions such as Agropark, but also there are great conditions for the further sustainable development of such institutions. Nevertheless, the most challenging question we faced was as if Agropark were to be created, where in Azerbaijan it would be located. Since the decision was of a high responsibility and strategy, we initiated research within the internal market, which lasted for four months. Our final decision ended up being Shamkir, because it has several strategic advantages in order to implement this project. To start with, it has a variety of development opportunities, profitable economical and geographical location, availability of infrastructure corresponding to requirements, and it has self-representation as a specialized agricultural region. In addition to that, there are high stakes of export potential; the location is on the historical Silk Road and in proximity to Georgia’s Poti port (500km). There is traditional experience in organizing sales in Russian markets. Finally, there is sufficient internal demand, an availability of buyers’ purchasing power—the region is the second most populated region after Absheron economical region—and proximity to Ganja, which is the second largest city after Baku.

What is the production purpose of Agropark, and what are you going to produce in Agropark in the initial phase?

Shamkir city has a profitable nature. The temperature, humidity, and soil structure is quite different here due to Shamkir’s location on the foothills. Therefore, such conditions enable us to produce a number of different types of fruits and vegetables. When it comes to what we are to produce, we are going to grow tomatoes and other vegetables both in open fields and in greenhouses, and grow kernelled fruits in intensive orchards.

What countries are you going to export your products to?

Any businessman can export its products to any country. The only conditions are that the products should be of high quality and should be available for the purchase of clients at the right time corresponding to their desires. At Shamkir Agropark, we are thinking of providing our country with food security in the first place. At the same time, we have a huge export potential. The list of countries where we are to export our goods include, but not limited to, Russia, Kazakhstan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

How are you going to help develop agriculture in Azerbaijan and stimulate new investors to come to Agropark?

There are profitable conditions in Azerbaijan to make agricultural investments. Additionally, we enjoy a variety of resources and opportunities to further develop this sphere. In a political spectrum, the laws made by our State are of great motivation for farmers and extra incentive for investors. For example, the investors will be free of the Income Tax in Agropark. I would like to mention that those who are going to invest in Agropark will also be free of building utility infrastructure (water, gas, and electricity), as this will be provided by Agropark. In addition, investors will be able to enjoy other preferential services organized by our center. Additionally, we would enter into the 99-year contractual agreement with the investors. We are also not going to take any rental fees for three years. However, the biggest advantage here is the fact that Agropark is the real buyer of the goods produced by the investors.

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