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Georgia Temporarily Bans Turkish Potato Import

Wednesday, March 21
The Government of Georgia has decided to ban the potato import from Turkey for 3 months. The relevant decree was signed by the Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvli.

Georgia’s National Food Agency (NFA) stated that the reason for the ban is the potential risk of potato cancer spread in Georgia.

Levan Davitashvili, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia informs that prohibition of potato import from Turkey for several months is a temporary sanitary measure.

“This is a sanitary measure which is relevant to the International Convention on Plant Protection and the Georgian legislation,” the minister said, adding it is connected to time for potato planting.

He added that potato harvest is increasing in Georgia annually, adding the temporary measure does not mean the restrictions on total import.

“We need to prevent spread of agricultural diseases on Georgian territory. This is a temporary measure to protect farmers,” said Davitashvili.

Last year the ministry said Georgia reduced dependence on potato imports as in 2017, local farmers harvested enough to meet the needs of the local market.

Furthermore, Georgia also increased the export of potatoes, giving more financial benefits to farmers.

According to the data of January-November 2017, 50 thousand tons of potato was harvested in Georgia, out of which 35 thousand tones were exported.

This year it is expected that Georgia will have more potato harvest compared to 2017.

Potato Cancer is caused by the fungus Synchytrium endobioticum, and this organism is considered to be the most important world-wide quarantine plant pathogen of cultivated potato.

The potato cancer (wart) pathogen co-evolved with the potato in the Andes Mountains in South America from where it was distributed around the world by infected tubers and infested soil.

Potato wart has now been variously reported in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, North America, and South America.

If the soil is infected with the diseased potatoes, it cannot be used for 20 years.