Government Unveils Anti-Crisis Plan on Agriculture, Entitled Print Version

2020-05-12

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We must all understand that Georgia can use the crisis as an opportunity for the further development of the country's economy and we must all work together to identify the points of growth and breakthroughs in our respective areas, which the country can successfully manage and handle. Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia made this statement at the presentation of the Anti-Crisis Plan on Agriculture.

The head of the government noted that today, for the first time, we have one case of infection and 16 recoveries in 24 hours, which is a significant achievement, though this is no reason to relax.

"On the contrary, we should be even stricter in the enforcement of the regulations established by the representatives of the healthcare system. Adherence to regulations and discipline is the only way to guarantee that we will be able to restore economic activities more quickly and efficiently than others. This is very important. We must convert the effective management of the COVID-19 infection into an opportunity for economic growth. This is of critical importance. When we say that we are fighting on two fronts - those of human health and lives, and of rapid economic recovery - we mean just that. Georgia can use this crisis as an opportunity and this must be our goal and our motto until the end of this year, as well as in the coming year. The effectiveness of economic revival is directly related to how well we follow the regulations established by doctors. This is not difficult to accomplish. We must always wear our face masks, we must maintain social distance, observe the basic rules of hygiene and many others, though this is easy to do. Unfortunately, the pandemic and the virus are events with which we will need to co-exist for some time," the prime minister noted.

According to the head of the government, agriculture is the area where the government took some steps in support of the farmers; however, this is not enough, which is why the Anti-Crisis Program, entitled Caring for Farmers and Agriculture, was developed.

According to the prime minister's assessment, the severity of what it means to have food safety and the domestic production of agricultural products in the country was revealed during the period of the crisis.

"This was a highly sensitive issue for each citizen, as well as simply in terms of supplies. After all, this has a significant effect in terms of employment as well. Today, a large part of our population lives in rural areas and a strong village directly translates to a strong country and a strong state. The connection that the Georgian man has with the land has always been special, which is why we developed a program that is based on the support of farmers and farming, as well as on the introduction of marks of quality in agricultural enterprises that should unequivocally increase the productivity of our agriculture. This is of great importance, particularly considering that the Ministry of Agriculture, together with the regions and our local authorities, has a great deal of experience in managing crises and challenges in this area. The brown marmorated stink bug, which was handled absolutely effectively by the Ministry of Agriculture, together with farmers and associations, is an example of this. It is important for us that the agrarian process does not stop for a single day and no land remains uncultivated in the country as a result of this program. To this end, the government developed a specific plan for funding the programs that already exist in the Ministry of Agriculture to assist farmers. Furthermore, we have developed special additional measures as well," Giorgi Gakharia stated.

According to the Anti-Crisis Plan, every farmer with registered plots of land will receive 200 GEL per hectare from the state.

According to the head of the government, this means that medium and large agricultural enterprises that possess, for example, ten hectares of land and cultivate it will receive 2,000 GEL in assistance from the state.

"Of course, this assistance will be proportionally distributed to the farmers who have relatively smaller plots of land as well," the prime minister noted.

Additionally, all farmers will receive 150 liters of diesel fuel per hectare, which is guaranteed to be 1 GEL cheaper than the market price.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, the price of fuel is critically important for agricultural activities and the government is working to solve this problem not only for this year but for the coming years as well.
"The price of fuel is of critical, systemic importance for agricultural activities and we are working to solve this problem not just during the crisis but for the coming years as well. I can guarantee that the price of agricultural diesel will be significantly lower than the market price of diesel," Giorgi Gakharia stated.

According to the Anti-Crisis Plan, every farmer in Georgia (who number 42,000) will be fully exempt from irrigation fees. As the head of the government noted, farmers will have free water for irrigation in 2020.

As regards those farmers who need to buy machinery, the state will finance 50 percent of the expenses in the form of grants.

"Every farmer who needs to buy machinery or set up greenhouse enterprises or irrigation systems will receive financial assistance from the state in the form of grants covering 50 percent of the relevant expenses. Farmers will be able to apply to the relevant services of the Ministry of Agriculture from the 20th of May. This is very important as spring agricultural works are underway at the moment," the prime minister stated.
Furthermore, the government is working of the issue of systemic land registration within the framework of the Anti-Crisis Plan to support agriculture, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Justice. According to the government's plan, all plots of land in the country must be fully surveyed and registered over the next three years.

According to the head of the government, the farmers who have not registered their land for any reason and will manage to do so by the end of the year will also be able to take advantage of the concessions and assistance.

"All the assistance for farmers that is envisaged by the Anti-Crisis Plan on Agriculture is connected with registered land. In order for us to support the development of farming, every person who may not have registered their land for any reason but will be able to do so by the end of the year will be able to take advantage of these concessions and the assistance. This means that a certain part of this program will apply to a certain period of the coming year as well. We are providing assistance to the farmers and the village - this amounts to caring not only for the people living in rural areas but also for every single one of our citizens and the country's agricultural food product security. Additionally, I would like to call on every farmer to register, as soon as possible, all plots of land that they utilize and are able to register so that they can become the beneficiaries of all the programs that the state is implementing for them today," the prime minister stated.

The head of the government thanked the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and Minister Levan Davitashvili for their interesting and hard work during the development of the Anti-Crisis Plan on Agriculture.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, the agrarian process should not be stopped for a single second - farmers in rural areas must continue their work and no land should remain uncultivated.

According to the prime minister, the country's agricultural food product security is of critical importance.

"Many thanks to Levan Davitashvili - this is good work and the figures are impressive. This is our aim, and the aim of this program. Additionally, the next goal for the field of agriculture is the industrialization of the field - we need industrialized agriculture and, of course, the growth of productivity. These are the challenges that we have been fighting for years; we have achieved some success, which is very important - for instance, the balance of the agricultural food product deficit in the country, which used to amount to 900 million USD, and has been reduced to 350 million USD today. We are talking about the difference between the import and export of agricultural products in the country. This is a challenge that we must address; this is the plan that was developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and the government. The only thing that we must urge our citizens to do is to buy Georgian products, which are becoming of higher and higher quality, and we must do everything to ensure that our agricultural products are competitive on international markets once our agricultural food product security needs have been met. We can do this, and we must do this," Giorgi Gakharia stated.

 

Press Service of the Government Administration