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Georgia loses ground2011-12-05 10:50
Georgian authorities inspired by the privatization successes continue massive land sales to foreign investors. Thousands of hectares become property of Boer farmers from South Africa. To attract them more, there is now a special web-site where can they apply for Georgian citizenship to Mikheil Saakashvili. However today owning the land is not only being a landowner. It implies management of production units turning agriculture products into assets for market speculation.
The idea of moving Boer farmers from South Africa to Georgia has new particulars. If at first the authorities promised to sell abandoned or undeveloped lands, now it turns out the Georgian people must share their original lands with the foreigners and lose their last source of income. Over the last six months foreigners have become owners of over 3 ha of land in different villages that Georgian peasants used to work on. Remarkably, the memorandum on restoration of economy through agriculture was signed by Papuna Davitaya - minister for diaspora issues, though there should be the signature of minister of agriculture.
Apparently, attraction of additional work force is connected with the demographic situation in the country. Presently the Georgian population is decreasing, and the crisis is particularly acute outside big cities. According to the leadership, inflow of fresh blood into Georgia's genetic fund must be complemented with a good portion of preferences - like, for instance, most fertile lands near Kakheti, Shiraki and the Chiauri village of Ladogekhsky district adjacent to the wood. Since local citizens failed to preserve their properties because of high taxes, Mikheil Saakashvili decided to turn his gaze to more creditworthy people. It won't take him much to turn into Lemon prince collecting taxes for air.
What will come of families that have been living and relying on that land for centuries? Residents of Samtatskaro village are still protesting the sale of over 1,000 of ploughland, though the result is zero so far. Besides, residents of these districts don't even know conditions foreign investors buy such huge territories on because the public register simply has no information about that. There are Indians, Israelites as well as Boers owning Georgian lands. There is an impression that Sakartvelo management is actively helping to lose control over immigration flows driving compatriots to poverty. In future this might create an unpleasant precedent. Most part of the "territorial integrity" can be grabbed by those who can pay the triple price, not "evil Russian occupants".
Foreigners will invest in Georgia's agriculture development, though fruit grown on the fertile land will be used for speculation on world markets since today's land owner is in possession of limitless number of production units. Almost all countries of the world are cautious about selling agricultural lands to citizens of other states. For instance, Ireland, Turkey, Austria, Japan, Island, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Mexico legally prohibit selling agricultural lands to foreign investors without guarantees that activities of an owner will be for the benefit of the state. The reason is simple: the land they have is not enough for themselves, let alone migrants.