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Who needs Georgian mandarins?2012-12-26 16:39
This year, Georgia gathered great harvest of mandarins. Completely favorable weather contributed the ripening and harvesting. But after the farmers have gathered the sunny citrus they face a question: "What's next?" Sale of tons of mandarins has failed. Desperate people are asking for help.
"After such hard work it turns out that I have to throw away mandarins with my own hands. Being unable to bring them to the market, we have to sell them for a penny, just like lemons", Natella Osadze, villager of Meriya, Ozurgeti District, complains.
In the village of Meriya there operates processing plant, purchasing mandarins for 8 tetri per 1 kilo. However, the price of citrus depends on the quality and varies from 8 to 20 tetri, while the cost of mandarins, according to the locals, is one-quarter lari.
Plant technologist Kakha Babilodze comments such low prices: "Indeed, the price of mandarins for the processing is very low, but it does not depend on us. Purchasing, shipping, processing, bay, delivery and much more is very expensive. Our factory cannot afford pay more".
Farmers require urgent assistance to find market for mandarins. Farmers and population are afraid of last year's fail, when they suffered huge losses. They're going to meet and talk with the deputy from Ozurgeti to consider the issue at the government level.
Agriculture Development Service of Ozurgeti at this stage is consulting with the Ministry of Agriculture. Farmers are obviously in great need of state aid. They are seeking for help to transport the yield, as well as to subsidize proceeding plants, which would increase the admission price of citrus.
In Georgia, the yield of mandarins is slightly fewer compared to last year, while the quality of the harvest, on the contrary, has improved. Experts account the reducing of annual crop for weather characteristics. "The increase and decrease in yield is connected to annual weather changes. This year, do not expect harvest any more", Professor of Batumi University, Agricultural Engineering Department, Shota Lamparidze explains.
Georgia exports 70% of citrus. The greatest number of Georgian mandarins goes to Ukraine, then to Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, the Baltic countries and Central Asia. The first for a long time batch of mandarins arrived today to the Russian market, which is actually closed for the Georgia. The freight was transported via Belarus. If Georgia establishes citrus supplies to Russia, this can significantly help Georgia.