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Delicious goyja of Nakhchivan

It has become a traditional case to hold festivals in different directions in the autonomous republic. As the innovation of the recent years, the festivals held in order to develop agriculture, to extend promotion of products grown in the autonomous republic, which one of them is “Goyja” festival. What are the main factors related to the organization of the festival of this valuable fruit? In this regard, we talked with Asgar Hasanov, department head of the Ministry of Agriculture of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. He noted that Nakhchivan is historically a land of agricultural development and is distinguished by its unique tradition of gardening and climate diversity. Sources said that gardening is more than 3500 years old in this ancient land. The favorable soil and climatic conditions of the autonomous republic allow the cultivation of high-quality fruits with excellent flavor and delicacy. 

It is noted in the writings of historian travelers who lived in the XV century, that the tasty and delicious fruit varieties in Nakhchivan are nowhere in the world.  The fruits grown here are fresh and dry, and in addition to the domestic market, they find themselves buyers in foreign countries.

Since the beginning of the XIX century fruit-growing entered a wide phase in this ancient land. The establishment of conservation plants for the processing of fruit-vegetable products in the 70-80s of the last century caused to begin a new development stage in fruit-growing.

In recent years, special attention is paid to the development of fruit-growing as profitable field. On the basis of the “State Program on the development of fruit-growing and vegetable growing in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in 2012-2015” adopted by the Decree of the Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic dated February 14, 2012, purposeful measures have been carried out.     Producers have been granted soft loans for the establishment of fruit gardens and refrigerated warehouses for storing fruit products have been built and put into operation. The “State Program on the development of fruit-growing and vegetable growing in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in 2016-2020” adopted by the Decree of the Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, envisages the implementation of a broader measures in this direction. During the past period a lot of work has been done in this field, new fruit gardens have been established. At that time superiority was given to local and productive sorts, as well as sorts planted by folk selectionists which are going to be forgotten.

According to Asgar Hasanaov, Nakhchivan gardeners cultivated more than 500 rare sorts of seedy, stony and shell fruits by their own methods for many centuries.

The stony fruits are very close to each other in biological terms. Their methods of cultivation are almost identical. From these fruits, cherry-plum, plum and blackthorn were gathered from forests and used by people in the ancient times. Over the time, these plants were grown near the settlements and ate their fruits.

For many years, folk selectionists created new sorts of this fruit by grafting, choosing more fruitful sorts of these fruit plants. The most commonly used sort of this fruit is cherry-plum.  Cultured sorts of cherry-plum gained fame only in Azerbaijan and were taken to other places from many ancient times. As its trees are very forbearing to drought-resistant, productive and resistant to various diseases, these trees are planted much in the gardens. Wild cherry-plum is considered a good inoculation. In order to ripe the fruits early, people created goyja sort by different inoculations. Goyja is a bigger, ripe pulp is watered and juicy, pulp is easily removed from its stone, delicious and palatable fruit. Although it is cultivated in many regions of Azerbaijan, “Nakhchivan goyja” is famous for its taste and quality. As the fruit of this sort is eaten when it is green it is called “goyja”. Ripen fruits are used for drying.

There are “talabi”, “goyja sultani”, “yaz malasi”, “yay malasi”, “payiz malasi”(in Ordubad region) sorts in our land.

Goyja does not like much gravelly, stony and excessively clayey soil. In such soil goyja should be inoculated to cherry-plum. It should be planted in strong and soft soils to give good fruit.

For goyja, plum, cherry-plum and blackthorn plants, it is very important to have 3-8% alabaster in the soil. The quality of these fruits is high in alabaster soils, and the products are plentiful. The fruit trees belonging to this species are increased by their stones, shoots, sticks, and have a very good inoculation. Therefore, only shoots and inoculation methods are used to increase any varieties.

According to Asgar Hasanov, in the conditions of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, the most suitable and precious inoculation for goyja is cherry-plum. In addition, albukhara and plum may also be good inoculation for goyja, but the tree from this inoculation has a short life.    The most suitable inoculation for goyja is considered to be eye and cutting inoculation.

From the ancient times until the era of irrigation agriculture, sowing areas and orchards in the city of Nakhchivan were irrigated using the water of ancient kahrizs (underground water-supply). Today, yards in the "Chukhur", "Sarvanlar", "Khinjab", "Shahab" and Alikhan neighborhoods, which are considered to be one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city, are mainly irrigated by kahriz water.

In the neighborhoods of Nakhchivan, apple, goyja, alcha, apricot, pear and other fruits grown in the yards are considered more delicious than the fruits grown in the regions due to their taste, aroma and other qualities and this is still the same today. Thus, Nakhchivan is famous for goyja which is rich in vitamin C and goyja is sold much for many years. It is the favorite fruit of people, it has brought Nakhchivan into prominence. Studies prove that due to the ratio of acidity, alkalinity, and sugar in goyja, it belongs to the dietary fruit group. On the other hand, the irrigation of the fruit by kahriz also affects its taste.

It is important to plow the field deeply, prepare the soil to grow gojya. There is no need for deep plowing in gravelly and soft soil. Because the roots of the goyja are in the upper layers of ground. The focus should be on the cultivation of the soil.

In early fertile period it is very important to prone the goyja trees a lot. It is possible to give them any shape until fruiting. The trees should be pruned every two years. If you don't do it, it can cause newly grown shoots to grow only around the tree trunks and the product gradually decreases.

In the first year of the trees, they grow rapidly, and begin to crop in 4-5 years. At that time, the roots of the trees cover the upper layers of the soil and if the soil is not fertilized, the product will soon decrease. That's why when land is plowed, 250-300 kilograms of phosphorus, 150-200 kilograms of potassium fertilizers to the each hectare in the autumn is an important agrotechnical task.

One of the main conditions to produce good crops is sufficient soil moisture supply. In drought seasons, when goyja gardens are not watered, their fruit is of poor quality. When the soil is lean and hardly contains water, watering must be increased. The lack of moisture until the fruit is grown will affect the amount and quality of the product. The trees should be watered 5-6 times in Nakhchivan.

Goyja fruit are more consumed when they are not grown, so demand is growing at that time, prices are rising in the market and sales revenue of the product are increasing. Its unpicked ripe fruit is used for other purposes (making compote, jam, lavasha or being dried).

According to the analyzes, it is possible to sell 40-45 tons of high-quality products from one hectare area. Taking into account the price of one kilogram of goyja in the local markets in the autonomous republic, income from each hectare may be 40,000-45,000 AZN. This shows that to plant goyja gardens is economically profitable.

At the beginning of our article we mentioned the holding of the Goyja festival in the autonomous republic. The first festival, which made great impressions on both residents and guests of Nakhchivan city, was held on May 27, 2016 at the Historical-Architectural Museum Complex "Nakhchivangala". There were more than 3 tons of fruit grown by 70 landowners of Nakhchivan city, Sharur, Babak and Ordubad regions at the festival. The products made from goyja such as jam, compote, pickles, dry goyja, as well as goyja lavasha were liked by the participants. There were more than 20 tons of product at the second festival, which was held on June 3, 2017. The competition was held at the end of both festivals and the winners of the "The best goyja" competition were awarded diplomas.

Today, the third "Goyja" festival will be held in Nakhchivan. At this festival, landowners of our autonomous republic will be able to demonstrate their products for the third time.

Mukhtar MAMMADOV

"Sharg gapisi" newspaper 

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Date: 17-09-2019
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