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Tea industry to be revived

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, February 18
The Rose Revolution administration has almost completely ignored one of the former leaders of the agriculture sector, the tea industry. This was already having hard times, but has now been almost completely destroyed. Today agricultural experts admit that this was a big mistake and have put the problem of reviving this industry back on the agenda.

Tea is very popular around the world and the industry is growing daily. In 1980 world tea production was 1.8 million tonnes, in 2000 it was 3 million.

In 1989, during the last years of the Soviet Union, Georgia produced around half a million tonnes of tea, supplying almost the entire Soviet Union. In 1999 Georgia produced only 60,000 tonnes of tea, and in 2005, when the state stopped investing in the tea industry, only 25,000 tonnes of tea were produced. In 2008 output was only 5,000 tonnes.

Statistics suggest that from 2005-2008 the destruction of the tea industry has left around 24,000 people jobless. Economic experts calculate that if it is possible to revive industry and restart tea production on the remaining 40,000 hectares of plantations, around 50,000 jobs will be created.

The production of 800 million GEL worth of tea would become possible and the budget will receive at least GEL 250 million.

Georgian tea does not need additives as it is an ecologically pure product, organic. It has a low level of caffeine and is extremely popular in Central Asian countries.