Bad weather creating problems
By Messenger Staff
Friday, September 18Georgia was expecting a good harvest of wheat in 2009. Minister of Agriculture Bakur Kvezereli was predicting 16 hundred kilos of wheat per hectare. Unfortunately due to climatic problems this prognoses has not been fulfilled and Georgia has had a very bad harvest. First it was hot and did not rain sufficiently but later rain overwhelmed the fields, and poor machinery compounded the problem.
The Ministry of Agriculture states that the country consumes around 800,000 tonnes of wheat annually. In recent years Georgia has produced 20% of this amount domestically, but in 2008 it only produced 125,000 tonnes and this year around 105,000 tonnes, satisfying only 10-15% of demand.
The use of land for growing wheat is also declining, and has been for many years. Analysts think that one of the major reasons for this is the fact that farmers own very small plots of land. More than 80% of farmers own less than 10 hectares each. Another problem is imports, which are cheap and therefore compete successfully with local produce.
Resolving these problems requires a very thoughtful, careful, and well designed State strategy, which will involve supporting local production to create new jobs.