Saakashvili boasts ‘great agricultural potential’ of Georgia
Monday, February 21
President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, visited Tbilisi mill enterprise to inspect the conditions of the grain supply with the Minister of Agriculture Bakur Kvezereli on February 18. Saakashvili wondered whether the country is facing a wheat deficit, reflected in the increasing prices. But Kvezereli explained to the President that the preventive activities carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture have dealt with the problem and Georgia is not facing any such deficit. Moreover, the country’s food security will be safeguarded until the new harvest collection so that no more danger exists in Georgia’s agricultural sector.
Surveying the enterprise and familiarizing himself with the modern process of grain preservation, Saakashvili stressed the importance of the regional elevators, terminals and transportation centers for food security. Stressing that Georgia should strengthen its function as a transit country; Saakashvili highlighted the geographical privileges of Georgia. “It’s wonderful that we have no food deficit but as soon as we become part of the world trade centre, the country will benefit from increasing prices and the status as a “feeble” country will remain long in the past,” the President said, stressing that the food security regulations would prevent us from being the “victims” of high prices.
Talking of Georgia’s great agricultural potential, Saakashvili said “we should be providing not only Georgia but the whole Black Sea region, the Caucasus and the Middle Asian centers” with Georgian-made products. Explaining that these steps would become the basis for Georgia’s development as a Singapore-like country, the President encouraged Minister Kvezereli to create a short-term plan against inflation as well as a long-term strategy for state benefits.
Saakashvili raised the topic of the GEL 30 food voucher which will be distributed to Georgian people from March. People, who have been critical towards the project, compared the process with “couponisation” and stressed it would negatively affect the rate of inflation. This project enables the owners of the allowance to exchange the vouchers in national currency at banks. Stressing that GEL had become stable, the President said coupons used to be constantly devaluating in the 1990s. “We are distributing these allowances instead of money because people will have an opportunity to give them to others,” Saakashvili said hoping to “slightly lighten the shock” caused by the increase of prices on products.
Visiting Koda poultry farm, the President became interested in the farm production. Stressing that no price increase has been reflected either in eggs or poultry meat, the President praised the successful development of the local industry. Koda has successfully occupied the local market and is also exporting its products abroad. Emphasizing that investment made in a particular field enable this field to be responsible for food security, Saakashvili encouraged the corn and grain producers to produce more cereals.
Promising he would meet farmers around Georgia, Saakashvili spoke of the advantages they will have both on a local and international level. The cereal production according to Saakashvili will be the stable basis for developing poultry farming. Moreover, the Georgian cereal producers will not only satisfy the demands of the local market but also benefit from increasing prices on the world market through exporting their goods.