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Stink Bug Deals Heavy Blow to Abkhazia’s Mandarin Harvest

Friday, December 8
(SUKHUMI, Abkhazia) – An infestation of stink bugs in Georgia’s Russian-backed Breakaway region Abkhazia’s has wiped out this year’s mandarin harvest, dealing a heavy blow to the rebel region’s economy.

Citrus export from Abkhazia are expected to plummet to nearly three times less than the previous year.

The secessionist government’s agriculture ministry estimates the citrus harvest to drop to about 16,000 tons this year, down from more than 27,000 tons in 2016. The development will be a major blow to the local economy as mandarins and other citrus fruits comprise the overwhelming bulk of the subtropical Black Sea region’s cash crop.

Russian customs officials in Sochi, just north of the Abkhaz border, said mandarin imports from the region into Russia sharply dropped 2.7 times compared to the same period in 2016.

According to the customs press service, about 1,500 tons of mandarins were registered at the Adler motor checkpoint this year, a sharp decline from the 4,000 tons received at the same time last year.

The exports of other subtropical fruits, including feijoa (pineapple guava) and persimmons, have both also tumbled by about two thirds, local state news agency Abkhazinform reports.

Citrus fruits are a major source of income for the rebel economy as mandarins are usually bought in huge quantities by former Soviet republics for the New Year holiday, where they play an important role as a traditional feature of the holiday dinner table. (