Monday, 08 May 2023 12:50

Mashallah Tagiyev: ATS Group producing high-quality agricultural and food products

Caspian Energy (CE): Mr. Tagiyev, how would you assess the locally established market conditions in terms of the development of Azerbaijan’s agro-industrial complex?

Mashallah Tagiyev, Chairman of the Board of AgroTrade Supply: The land reform, relevant programs, and the legal framework introduced by the national leader Heydar Aliyev in the agrarian sector created favorable conditions for this sector’s development in Azerbaijan. This year marks the 100th birthday anniversary of the national leader Heydar Aliyev, and President of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev signed an order declaring 2023 the ‘Year of Heydar Aliyev’ in the country.

In recent years, the launch of new agro-industrial enterprises in certain regions considerably increased the population’s food security through local production and provided new export capabilities for the republic. Azerbaijan is the country possessing broad opportunities for developing the agro-industrial sector. Geographic and climatic advantages open up wide opportunities to develop an industrial-purpose agrarian sector in our country. In the meantime, the implemented efficient policy and the rise of the country’s economic potential enable making broad use of the opportunities available in the domestic agricultural sector and to build new processing enterprises. There are countries where the development of the agrarian sector is out of question, whereas Azerbaijan’s fertile lands and favorable geographic factors make it possible to develop the agrarian sector by intensive methods. Our country’s geographical and climatic characteristics are such that both cattle breeding and crop farming can be developed by applying the advanced world experience and a mix of intensive methods. This, in turn, will help to increase domestic production capacities of the state, enhance the population’s food supply and at the same time tap into new export markets.

CE: What was the core objective upon the establishment of the company and to what extent has it been achieved?

Mashallah Tagiyev: AgroTrade Supply (ATS Group) is a group of companies operating in the agro-industrial sector of the country, cooperating closely with farmers and offering customers high-quality agricultural and food products. The company’s mission is to develop production and processing of grain and leguminous crops in the regions, increase income of the local population and thereby contribute to the country’s food security.

CE: What are the enterprises operating within the company’s structure? Could you tell about their directions of activity and production capacities?

Mashallah Tagiyev: Operating within the company are a flour mill, a feed factory, a soybean processing plant, 2 bread factories, as well as flour confectionery goods plants. Besides, ATS Group is also engaged in the agricultural activity. The enterprises operating within Agrotrade Supply are as follows:

ATS Mill was established in 2011 and has been operating in the market for over 11 years. During this period, it has achieved significant success in wholesale outlets and B2B. Production processes here are fully automated and controlled by PLC, and the composition of processed wheat is formed with high accuracy, complying with the quality categories of flour. There are 11 product items produced at the enterprise.

ATS Feed was founded in 2014. As one of the leading enterprises in the feed industry which has continued growing since 2014 and is considered one of the major sectors of agriculture, the enterprise is producing and selling over 40 sorts of feed for big and small cattle, and for poultries.

ATS soya was established in 2016. A soybean meal which plays a key role in creation of the livestock and poultry feed base, and is considered as a main source of protein can be produced only by using the extraction technology.  Processing around 50,000-60,000 soybeans per year, the facility is capable of producing 45,000 tons of soybean meal and 12,000 tons of soya bean oil.

ATS Agro is engaged in growing wheat, barley, corn, soy, bean, sunflower, and wine grape at sown areas of a number of Azerbaijani regions. 

ATS Food was established in 1999.  Currently, it holds an important place at the Azerbaijani market in terms of its activities. There are two large plants operating within the enterprise and meeting daily demand for consumer products.

The enterprises have been certified in accordance with ISO 9001-2015 and ISO 22000-2018 standards. Confectionery goods and flour produced by the enterprise under ‘Bismak’ brand are in great demand at the local market. Manufacturing products of this brand, Bismak plant was established on 06.04.2004, ‘Çörəkçi’ plant - on 14.01.2013. The plants are producing a total of 170 product items.

CE: How do you assess the outcomes of the past agricultural year in the country and what are your expectations from the current year?

Mashallah Tagiyev: In the current grain season ATS Group continues implementing local farmer support projects. At present, supply of local wheat and barley under affordable prices has been started. Special reception points were opened in Sheki, Gah, Saatly, Beylagan, Gobustan (Maraza), Jalilabad, Ismayilli, Oguz, Imishli and Yevlakh districts in order to ensure a quick and transparent purchasing process.

CE: What attention is paid to the quality and sanitary-hygienic standards of agricultural products?

Mashallah Tagiyev: The reception points are equipped with the most necessary laboratory facilities, truck scales, and have the internet connection. Farmers delivering goods to these points have their products weighed in their presence. After a quality check, parties agree upon a product price which is paid on the spot. This system is meant for facilitating the process of grain deliveries and preventing cargoes’ long queue-waiting in front of the processing plants in large cities.

CE: In which regions does the company grow agricultural products? Is it planned to increase the area of agricultural lands?

Mashallah Tagiyev: ATS Agro LLC owns 13,073 hectares of sown areas.

Sown areas are distributed within the republic in the following manner:

Shamakhy - 220 ha, Samukh - 531 ha, Jalilabad - 817 ha, Gobustan – 1,305 ha, Khizi – 1,700 ha, Saatly – 2,500 ha, Imishli – 6,000 ha.

Arable lands in Samukh, Shamakhi, Gobustan and Jalilabad are in actual use, while sown areas available in Khizi, Imishli and Saatly are planned to be put into use. 

CE: Which local farmer support projects is the company involved in?

Mashallah Tagiyev: In this connection, our company is implementing the project ‘contract farming’. This project is attractive for farmers, since this measure provides access both to a guaranteed market and to support in production. The basic principle of this project model is that with the aim of supporting a small-scale farming, by signing contracts with farmers ATS Agro facilitates sowing of crops and brings the crops to the market, laying the foundation of a mutually beneficial business approach by thorough quality control at the owned farmland. In addition, ATS Group is implementing a contract-based agricultural project to improve the supply of raw materials both for feed production plants and vegetable oil manufacturing plants. The project covers over 60 small farms at an area of 2,000 ha. For soybean and corn plantations, farmers are provided with seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and equipment in advance. Provided material and agronomic support promotes reinforcement and growth of farmers’ business. We are confident that the work AgroTrade Supply is carrying out to develop our country’s agrarian-industrial sector will expand, and growing numbers of rural workforce will cooperate with us and benefit from our investment projects.

CE: What are the future business expansion plans based on?

Mashallah Tagiyev: We are constantly updating our plan of current activities towards strengthening and developing our positions in this sector. To expand its operations, ATS Group intends to link in production facilities.

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