Gulnaz Agayeva, who also lives in Samadabad, has been forced to buy fruits and vegetables due to the drought.
Agayeva lives with her husband and three children on a single salary. While she spends hours looking after the family's cattle, chicken and garden, the lack of water means the family struggles to meet basic needs.
“Everything that is fresh and the best quality is being sent to cities, and it's cheaper there. Tomatoes are 70-80 qepik (roughly 40 cents) in the city, but here it costs 1 AZN (around 60 cents). We even buy grain for chickens,” she notes.
Agayeva adds that feed for livestock costs roughly six times the price of a litre of milk.
“Animals cannot survive on just straw. The price of clover is 6 AZN. There are families that can’t even pay for utilities, how can they buy fodder and water for animals?”
While the government has pledged to take action, so far help has been limited to improving accessibility to water in two villages. The best action, according to Ismayilov, is to cultivate plants that require less water.
But instead the government appears keen on increasing cotton production in the region. In 2019, Azerbaijan exported slightly less under $92 million worth of cotton fiber.
In the long term, Azimova worries who will be left in the village and how they will survive.
“You have to have chickens and cattle to eat eggs and meat. Without them, it is simply not possible to provide for a family,” she says.
“Many people are leaving the village to find jobs in the city. The women stay home, the men go away to work. Mostly it is the young people who are leaving; they have to leave their families because there are no jobs here. The only ones who are left are the women.”