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Agriculture Minister excludes increase of grape wholesale price

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, September 16
Kakhetian peasants still continue to demonstrate at the Gurjaani Administration with the same demand- they ask the government to increase the grape wholesale price. The protesters claim they will not stop the rallies until the government satisfies their demand.

In comparison with the previous demonstration, fewer farmers gathered at Gurjaani Administration. The winegrowers say that people are under police pressure as three farmers were arrested during the previous rally when the protesters blocked the highway. Two of them were detained for police resistance and one man was arrested for abusing the majoritarian candidate of the opposition party, United National Movement (UNM) Giorgi Gviniashvili, who is the former governor of Kakheti. The detained men were later released.

The Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili slammed a protest rally by grape growers in Gurjaani, as the provocation by the opposition UNM party.

“I want to appeal to law enforcement agencies - please control the situation on the ground and get rid of the provocateurs. A discredited organization such as the UNM with the help of 20-30 men stir provocations and distort a very positive image of the ongoing vintage,” he said.

PM stressed that farmers are “misled” and manipulated by the UNM and called upon them not to allow anyone to use them for the political purposes.

In response to the PM, UNM parliamentary minority leader, Davit Bakradze said that the Prime Minister is instructing the police to arrest UNM Gurjaani majoritarian MP just for performing his duties and standing beside the people.

“This is not a political issue, we do not want to politicize grape harvest, but at the same time we should all know that we will stand beside people wherever people are deceived,” Bakradze added.

Otar Danelia, Agriculture minister attended the joint meeting of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee and the Agriculture Committee on September 15, and presented the information about the progress of the 2015 vintage.

According to Danelia, the Georgian Agricultural system is well-built and the Ministry promotes winegrowers and winemakers by giving them preferential agro-credits.

He stated that the government cannot increase grapes wholesale price, because not the government but the market itself regulates prices.

“We do not interfere with the market policy; we have allocated subsidies, which contradicts free market principles and we will do our best not to use subsidies in the future,” the Minister stated.

Danelia promised the farmers that in case of an extra grape harvest, the government will open more factories and every winegrower will be able to sell grapes for profit.