Agriculture is one of the largest sectors of Azerbaijan’s economy. It accounts for approximately 12% of GDP. The combination of climatic conditions and fertile farmland permits the cultivation of a wide variety of crops, including fruit (apples, cherries, grapes, olives, lemons, persimmons, melons, watermelons, raspberries, gooseberries, currants, plums, peaches, pears, quinces and pomegranates), vegetables (potatoes, carrots, turnips, cabbage, cucumbers and onions), grain (wheat, corn, barley), tea and nuts. During the Soviet period Azerbaijan’s agriculture was collectivized in large state-run farms (kolkhozy and sovkhozy).
In order to dismantle the system of collective farms and distribute the land to individuals, the Government initiated a privatization program in 1996. The state-owned agricultural economic sectors were privatized and prices for agricultural products were deregulated. Today 99% of the arable land used for agricultural purposes is in private hands. New policy measures have been undertaken by the Government to support farmers by introducing financial mechanisms and market-based services to promote local production of agricultural goods.