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Economic leader’s low-return way2010-10-26 15:21
While Mikheil Saakashvili is busy adopting a new "more democratic" Constitution and swimming in the sea washing the shores of Batum in preparation to take Sakartvelo to "economic leadership in the region", enterprise closure is gathering pace. Hipp Georgia, fruit concentrate manufacturer, has decided to sell its plant in Khashuri as unprofitable. Production volume has shrunk tenfold as compared with last year.
A year ago Mikheil Nikolozovich was full of enthusiasm launching a new Hipp Georgia plant in the village of Agara. As the head of the Georgian state said then, the entry of Georgian agricultural goods to the markets of Europe is near at hand. "We have repeatedly stated that Georgia grows high-quality fruit, albeit little. With organic products almost completely replaced by chemicals in Europe we make healthy products that will help us find solid ground in the world market", - Saakashvili stated at the opening ceremony of the apple concentrate factory.
The reason for selling, as the company reports, was drastic apple yield reduction that made apple juice powder production unprofitable. Fruit are not the only problem of Georgia's agriculture. Experts consider wheat crop figures as catastrophic. This year it's nearly 900 kg per hectare. Total crop will be max 40-45 thousand tons in contrast with 800 thousand tons that Georgia had in the past.
In 2009 wheat was sewn on the total area of 57.5 thousand hectares. The wheat was reaped from more than 50 thousand hectares. Farmers yielded nearly 0.9 tons in one hectare, so the total amount of reaped crops is 45 thousand tons. In 2008 48.5 thousand hectares were sown, the total harvest was cropped from 47.5 thousand hectares. So an average yield in one ha was 1.7 tons. That means the country received 80 tons of wheat. Although last year, as compared with 2008, more land was allocated for sewing, the total yield was 35 tons less", - Paata Koguashvili, agriculture expert told in an interview with Business Georgia portal.
Sakartvelo government, however, is not used to being upset. Last week finance minister Kakha Baindurashvili presented the 2011 budget. The draft envisages fourfold increase in agricultural spending. The head of treasury is sure that unprecedented budgetary allocations will help increase food production and set Tbilisi free from dependence on imported agricultural goods. Vladimir Papava, an expert with the Foundation of Strategic and International Research in Georgia disagrees. "No matter what financing there is, it is essentially impossible to meet Georgia's demand for food completely", - he told GeorgiaTimes correspondent.