TBY talks to Namig Mammadov, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Ganja Sharab-2, on the development of viticulture and how wine can promote Azerbaijan to the world.

 Namig Mammadov
Namig Mammadov graduated from the Department of Fruit and Viticulture of the Azerbaijan Agricultural Academy. In 1985, he joined Ganja Sharab-2 as the Head of the Sales and Supplies Department. From 1993 to 1999, he was the Director, and from 1999 to 2004 he was the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Since 2004, he has been the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. He has been awarded the Medal of Progress by the Republic of Azerbaijan.

What impact did the announcement of 2015 as the Year of Agriculture have on Ganja Sharab-2?

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, is fully aware of the importance of agriculture for the implementation of the food program. This is exactly why 2015 was declared the Year of Agriculture in Azerbaijan. Taking advantage of this situation, Ganja Sharab-2 has increased attention to its viticulture department and taken measures to expand areas for grapes. In particular, a new vineyard covering 23ha has been established in the Samukh district and the relevant agro-technical activities have been launched to set up another on an area of 16ha. This has increased Ganja Sharab-2's grape plantations to 425ha. In order to address our need for grapes, close contacts have been established with grape-growing farms in adjacent districts. We have been purchasing and processing grapes from it, which contributes to agricultural development in these districts. Our company employs about 200 people in its agricultural division, and this accounts for half of our total workforce.

How much wine and vodka does Ganja Sharab-2 produce annually?

Our company has prepared and is now implementing an action plan on how to increase the sales of wines and vodka. According to this plan, Ganja Sharab-2 produces high-quality products. Our merchandise is competitive and popular both in and outside Azerbaijan. During 2015, we produced 40 varieties of wine and vodka of 10 denominations. In total, our company sold 288,300 decaliters of wine and 168,300 decaliters of vodka in 2015. In 2016, we plan on further expanding work in this direction, increasing the assortment of our products and taking other measures to meet consumer demand for our merchandise.

How does the application of advanced European technologies contribute to the greater efficiency of your company?

In 2015, our enterprise commissioned a processing workshop operating on the basis of cutting-edge technologies and meeting international standards. All equipment in this workshop was manufactured in leading foreign countries. This has made it easier both to produce quality products and to increase volume.

As a company exporting 50% of its wine, how do these exports help you manage your Azerbaijan operations?

It is true that we are exporting about 50% of our products. The revenues fetched by these exports are channeled into the further development of our enterprise. In particular, a significant portion of our profit is spent on new process equipment. This, in turn, is important to ensuring continuous development and retaining a stable workforce. In order to increase our exports, we regularly participate in international competitions. Our products have repeatedly been awarded with medals and diplomas. The most notable of our products include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Hillside, and Yeddi Gozel (Seven Beauties). We are working with a number of countries to expand the geography of our exports.

What is Ganja Sharab-2 doing to promote its brand name and reputation?

Ganja Sharab-2 is doing a lot to enhance its reputation and strengthen its market positions. Continuous quality improvement is one of top priorities. Our company produces wines with a broad price range in order to appeal to population categories with different levels of income.

How will the Formula One Grand Prix of Europe, due to be held in Baku, contribute to the development of Azerbaijan?

The fact that Azerbaijan will be hosting such a prestigious international event attests to the tremendous authority President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva are enjoying in the world. This competition will give a major boost to the development of tourism. Of course, the numerous visitors to Azerbaijan will get acquainted with our customs and traditions and abundant food, including our wines. Many of them will share their impressions with others after returning to their countries, and this will contribute a great deal to the promotion of Azerbaijan in the world.

What are Ganja Sharab-2's plans for 2016?

Our company is committed to solidifying our achievements, expanding the assortment of our merchandise, further improving the quality of our products, and making its modest contribution to the overall development of Azerbaijan.