Valid Mammadil, Phoenix Greenhouse Solutions:

Azerbaijan: "A lot of modern greenhouses have been built over the past five years"

Over the past 5 years, Azerbaijan experienced a boom in greenhouse constructions. “A lot o modern glass greenhouses have been built over the past five years,” says Valid Mammadil from Phoenix Greenhouse Solutions. “Especially the most innovative nurseries and modern rose greenhouses got built during this period. Our company participated in almost all of these projects. So, I believe it’s quite safe to assume that those five years have been the most progressive period of the horticulture industry in Azerbaijan.”

Different factors supported this boom, such as incentives, subsidies, and training programs for small and medium growers, all sponsored by the government. “A lot of entrepreneurs and growers have benefited from these opportunities,” Valid points out. And on top of that, successful greenhouse companies have inspired other growers to jump on board too, “These were a motivation for others, and stimulated the industry as well.”

Not as bright
However, the years to come will hardly look like these past five. “There are different reasons for that,” Valid continues. For instance, he mentions Azerbaijan’s dependence on the Russian market, which oftentimes causes bans and export problems, thus hampering processes and progress. On the other hand, there’s a general lack of proper agronomy and technical maintenance in greenhouses. “These two factors are instrumental in a successful operation, and they tend to be underestimated.”

But still opportunities 
Azerbaijan is a country with a rich agricultural history, and it’s plenty of opportunities, believes Valid. “There are still empty niches which could be easily filled with the proper approach, strategy, and agronomy. For instance, strawberry, raspberry, banana, and avocado could be quite profitable businesses,” he says. Yet, growers find themselves constantly facing challenges. “Plant diseases, gas, and fertilizer expenses are the most challenging factors nowadays,” Valid points out. “Especially rising prices for fertilizers and agrochemical products increase the cost of the end product. Starting from this year, the ToBRFV spread very quickly, and damaged a lot of greenhouse farms.” That’s why growers in Azerbaijan, but even in Georgia, can rely on the help of Phoenix’s experience and professional team. “We currently operate in two different directions: turnkey projects for greenhouses and management of greenhouses. For the first direction, we have services such as engineering, building, modification, and repair of greenhouses in Azerbaijan and Georgia. Our target is to provide these services in the German market as well.”

While a one-fits-all solution definitely cannot be applied to horticulture, there is a general principle that is applicable in many situations. “We believe and even proved that proper management and operation is a must to stand against difficulties and challenges,” Valid says. “There must be a team of professionals where each of them is responsible for their part in this huge orchestra. For instance, we achieved great results in the 12-ha tomato greenhouse for the 2021-2022 season. Our operations costs were the lowest in the country, and the company was able to finish the season with a revenue despite the war, inflation, and global economic challenges.” Pulling that off was all but a piece of cake, and Valid is proud of what he and his team accomplished. “It was a very harsh, difficult situation full of surprises. Yet, our team showed great patience and professionalism, which allowed us to complete the season without losses. I’d like to exclusively mention my business partner Elshan Babayev and our dear friend, a real expert on his field Sedat Citak, who were always by our side and supported us in order to achieve these results together with his agronomy team Veysel Erol and Mazahir Suleymanov.”

And that is what the Azerbaijan horti sector needs to be future proof, Valid observes. “The biggest hurdle for the sector here is the lack of horti professionals. Obviously, we can’t change or influence ongoing processes on a global scale, but competent managers would ease all of that, and adapt to the new challenges.”

"Our company is taking part in greenhouse cluster development project to be implemented by Imereti Agro Zone, in Georgia. As the only Azerbaijani company participating in this regional project, Phoenix Greenhouse Solutions had a privilege to directly participate in the development of projects in the region and selected as one of the first 18 members. Our partners in Imereti Greenhouse Cluster Consortium (IGCC) are doing great job and together we plan to build interesting agricultural infrastructure in the region upcoming years."

For more information:
Phoenix Greenhouse Solutions
+994 55 630 80 95
zfeniks.com 


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