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VIP-tractor from Mikheil Saakashvili04.05.2012 | 11:49
We already wrote about the "Help to the village" designed by the Georgian government to allocate new tractors to farmers. The program, apparently, was not particularly successful. Our correspondent went back to the eastern Georgia, where listened to complaints of the peasants of of one of the villages.
Spring is almost over, but there is still untouched land. And though president Saakashvili supervised this program, these tractors have like vanished into thin air.
We went to the province once again to see how things are at the villagers. Tractor or the lack thereof, is not the only problem of the Georgian farmers. Farmers are affected by the reforms, which have mostly negative impact on their lives.
People complain to us that their land, they have leased, has been taken away and sold at auction. Not the Ministry of Agriculture is engaged in this process, but the Ministry of Economy. Although the peasants keep the right to the original purchase, there is a "but": the cost per hectare is so high that the ordinary farmer cannot buy it.
But back to our tractors. "When they created new fleet of tractors, we came there and asked how much would cost their maintenance. Prices surprised us. Development of a hectare of land with president's tractors costs 140 GEL. In addition, for each kilometer traveled by the tractor, one will have to pay one GEL. What for they brought these tractors? For themselves? They have purchased land and use these tractors; and nothing for us", the peasants from Dedoplistskaro, one of the areas of eastern Georgia, told us.
In general, local farmers repeat the idea that some people, close to the central authorities, are buying up land and using new equipment. The flow of complaints from the villagers does not dry out.
District Dedoplistskaro really looks poorly. Bad roads, negative attitude of the local population towards the authorities. By the way, everywhere in Georgia, where you see scrubby areas and villages, you can hear the same words that in 2008 the local population refused to support Saakashvili, after which he got "offended" and now does not pay attention to the people in such areas as Dedoplistskaro.
"Let them take away their tractors back. Have they just woken up today? We needed tractors until now! Now it's too late", the locals say.
Apparently, there is a huge chasm between the authorities and the farmers. People, accustomed to subsistence farming, do not understand the essence of the reforms that the power offers them. And the result of several programs, such as, for example, planting hybrid corn, was negative. Financial situation of people has worsened.
There is another detail in eastern Georgia that catches the eye. People do not participate in local government. Regional and local authorities are represented by the "nationalists". And these "nationalists" are either really far from the people, or they do not live here in fact. The population has no living connection with the authorities of the lowest level. And this greatly stirs up social protest.
"This voucher for 30 lari, I sold it for 20 GEL. What was I to do? My husband was dying; I had not a single penny on drugs. We have no job".
"Last year we planted hybrid corn, which Misha really liked, and we harvested nothing. So the people, who took money loaned, have got nothing, and even the cattle don't eat this corn".