Some 20% of Azerbaijan's area was cultivated or considered arable in 1998. There are currently 59 agricultural regions in 10 geographic zones; the principal crops are grapes, cotton, and tobacco. Agriculture accounted for 20% of GDP in 2001.
Wheat production in Azerbaijan suffers from a number of problems common in the former Soviet Union, including inadequate production credit and lack of inputs. Most wheat is still produced on state farms, as privatization is only beginning. Production in 1999 amounted to 810,000 tons from 515,000 ha (1,273,000 acres). Seed cotton production amounted to 101,000 tons in 1999, from a harvested area of 156,000 ha (386,000 acres). Cotton production has been stagnant due to low producer prices, lack of incentives, and a shortage of both inputs and operating capital. Tobacco was grown on about 8,000 ha (19,800 acres) in 1999; production totaled 9,000 tons.
During the Soviet period, some 1,200 state and cooperative farms existed. Since independence, former state-owned farms have become more productive, and private fruit and vegetable farming is increasing. Of the total crop production of 1999, grapes totaled 140,000 tons; cotton (lint), 39,000 tons; fruits, 390,000 tons; vegetables, 816,000 tons; and grains, 932,000 tons.
Grapes were grown across 50,000 ha (124,000 acres) in 1999; wine production amounted to 65,000 tons that year. Azerbaijan has an expanding wine-producing industry whose wines have frequently won awards at international exhibitions.