More than Oranges and Lemons
By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, October 19
President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili held a special open-air session for farmers and agricultural workers in Kvareli village in Kakheti on October 18. Sharing with the audience the priorities for promoting the country, Saakashvili spoke of the importance of the agricultural sector for raising economical potential using innovations within the field. Claiming that the agricultural specialists educated in different countries would help Georgian agriculture get back its past reputation, Saakashvili spoke of the necessity of discovering Georgian economic geography.
“We have lots of wheat and maize producing regions in our country but more efficient cultivation of the land is unimaginable without the introduction of new seeds and cultivation methods,” the President said suggesting that the country must end up the Communist stereotypes of the past where each country was told what to produce. “Georgia was the only country in the whole of the Soviet Union with a subtropical climate. We Georgians had to provide the political authorities with our lemons and oranges indefinitely and were happy to fulfill the pre-defined plan,” he added.
Encouraging the agricultural specialists and farmers to be the “Generals of Vintage” Saakashvili pointed out the need for their support in increasing the efficiency of Georgia’s agricultural sector, reflecting on the economic prosperity. Implementing new methods for planting appropriate American wheat and maize in spite of the old methods we used in the past, according to Saakashvili will positively affect the agricultural sector by increasing the harvest in 3 or 4-fold by 2013-14. “Why should we depend on the world market and worry whether we will be hungry or not? Prices are constantly increasing throughout the world and Georgia shouldn’t be a victim!” the President said encouraging the first wave of agro-economists to share the experience of their Egyptian colleagues for using their education for developing Georgian agriculture. “Egypt has an average level of economic development but we may use their knowledge in our country. The Government of Georgia can only be responsible for introducing projects or initiating ideas aimed at raising the prosperity of our country, but the projects and ideas should be realised by you to create a long-term economic climate in our country,” he told the audience.
Talking about the ancient traditions of wine making in Kakheti, Saakashvili spoke of Georgia being the first wine-producing country in the history of mankind. “When I first started flying abroad I was envious of countries with perfectly cultivated lands. We have already restored traditional cultivation in Kakheti, Samegrelo and other regions by introducing modern Japanese tractors essential for improving the effectiveness of the ground,” the President told his audience sharing the great plans for improving the Kolkheti Lowlands which were ruined by the improper treatment of rich Communists motivated only by wealth. “It is necessary to create the appropriate infrastructure to ensure economic sustainability in our country. Lots of land was damaged due to improper use. We should remember that land is not a resource for private benefit and the new Tax Code will have special regulations concerning this issue,” stated the President.
Economic analyst, Gia Khukhashvili compared Saakashvili’s ideas to the maize project initiated by Nikita Khrushchev (First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) in the 1960s. “The only way to promote the Georgian agricultural sector is to produce ecologically safe products creating a competitive environment in the world market,” he told The Messenger suggesting we let our tasteful readers make their own conclusions about Saakashvili’s initiatives.