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Agricultural problems on the Parliament agenda

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, March 21
Parliamentary minority group, Christian-Democrats, met with analysts of Agriculture on March 20, in the Parliament, where the analysts expressed their views regarding the issue and underlined the most problematic areas for Georgian agriculture.

As leader of the Christian-Democratic Movement, Giorgi Targamadze said, “A lot of problematic issues have been revealed during the meeting, about which we will ask the questions to the Minister of Agriculture when he makes his speech to Parliament.”

“Bank resources are practically unavailable to farmers; Georgian banks refuse to finance the sector. Based on the banks’ representatives, the agricultural sector does not have the circulation which would justify their risk, “Rusudan Gigilashvili, head of Agro- development Group, said and mentioned that there are serious problems regarding the insurance of the agrarian sector as well.

Genetically modified products were one of the topical issues of the meeting, Edisher Kvesitadze, Chair of the institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnologies touched upon the issue, “such kinds of products are very much harmful for our health. The country is unable to totally prohibit the import of genetically modified products; however a control mechanism should be established in this direction. A special laboratory should be built for this reason, where such products would be examined.”

Economic analyst, Demur Giorkhelidze is not surprised that the banks and insurance companies do not risk financing the sector, “as for nearly 20 years Georgian agriculture was practically ignored by the authorities and the current situation in this field is very hard. That is why banks and insurance companies avoid collaboration with the sector representatives, “ Giorkhelidze said and also commented on the authorities’ statement, that they will manage to solve agricultural problems in 18 months, “ 18 months means two autumns, thus if everything is done accordingly , we would see improvement. Of course, all problems would not be settled, but it will be a nice start. However the strategy should be chosen very carefully and it will not be a mechanical process.”

Along with the analysts and the opposition representatives, the Georgian authorities also recognize the problems in agriculture. However, unlike the opposition and analysts, which permanently blame the authorities and their supposed ignorance in the field, Georgian Government representatives state that much has been done in this field and there is still much to be done, as they are actively working on effective projects, “We have already launched several projects to develop our agriculture, GEL 150 million has already been allocated from the state budget for this reason., so that the country is not dependant on imported products. Development of the agricultural sector and serious investment which has been carried out in this field will enable us to produce essential products within the country, while at the same time thinking about exports.” MP, Goka Gabashvili stated.

As for the issue concerning the genetically modified products and the reasons why the adoption of the draft law regarding such products has been postponed. The Georgian authorities gave two reasons, “Firstly, we are carrying out negotiations with the European Union on free trade and this issue is one of the components of negotiations. That is why the process has been prolonged. Secondly, genetically modified products are not harmful to your health. If they were, they would not be on American and European markets,” the authorities’ representative, Petre Tsiskarishvili, said.