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Georgia still net importer of wheat

By M. Alkhazashvili
Translated by Davit Kipiani
Tuesday, July 29
Like much of the agriculture sector in Georgia, wheat production is significantly lower now than it was in Soviet times. The newspaper Rezonansi reports that domestically produced wheat satisfies only 7 percent of the national demand.

In the 1960s wheat production averaged 700 000 to 800 000 tons per year, a figure which had plummeted to 300 000 in 2001 and around 70 000 in 2006.

There has been a correspondingly sharp reduction in the area of land suitable for harvesting crops. In 2001 there were around 150 000 hectares of cereal crops, which had decreased to approximately 75 000 tons in 2006.

Last year, Georgia imported a total of 788 000 tons, Rezonansi reports.

Experts say that domestically-produced wheat costs more than imported wheat, but is of higher quality. Economist Paata Koguashvili puts the going rate for Georgian wheat at USD 320360 per ton.