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Georgian farmers’ phantom millions2010-11-25 18:15
Problems of the Georgian agrarian sector have long become the talk of the town. Despite trying hard to overwhelm the unlucky karma of the branch being in his charge, Georgian Minister of Agriculture Bakur Kvezereli has not succeeded much. However, batono Bakur keeps his chin up. Now, at last, he may thank stars: American Eximbank promised to allocate as much as 100 million dollars to Georgian farmers.
According to the head of Ministry of Agriculture, foreign investors will mainly focus on raw materials processing, including the processing of milk and fruit, as well as on building new glasshouses and other kinds of enterprises. Money will be allocated for definite projects; each of them being backed up by as much as ten million dollars in American currency. The amount seems to be quite big considering 14 million dollars allocated by Sakartvelo state budget for the country's entire agricultural field this year.
The head of the Georgian agricultural sector hopes the number of such projects will reach ten. Besides, Bakur Kvezereli reckons that American bankers will help sponsor business start-ups in the field of agricultural products processing and will bring new players into the market.
According to the minister, Sakartvelo's agricultural sector is on the threshold of drastic changes.
However, the bright picture painted by the head of the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture starts fainting at once as soon as one remembers why the inspirited foreteller of the smashing prospects decided to cross the ocean. Batono Bakur went to the United States not to lure investors but to beg for a loan. Even a sheep is able to understand that 14 million dollars a year allocated for the branch of economy engaging half of the country's working population is simply nothing.
Investments for the Georgian farmers are out of the question; Americans agreed to extend a credit to the country to be spent on offsetting the budget deficit of agricultural expenses. At least, it has been extended at the decent annual interest of 3% if the minister can be trusted.
So far, there are few reasons to trust him: the head of the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture was not going to obtain a hundred million dollars, though his administration needs twice as much. It was known before Kvezereli's visit that the American bankers doubted the expediency of allocating such an significant amount and offered a 30-40 million dollar credit. Thus, the stated figure of 100 million dollars is rather questionable.