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Problems in agriculture

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, January 20
More than half of Georgia’s population lives in rural areas. Therefore, many analysts say that the administration should make agriculture a priority in the country’s economic development. However, the authorities have limited themselves to populist steps in this direction, and no significant and serious moves have been taken to revive agriculture. Moreover, the import of foreign agricultural goods into the country has been encouraged.

This year's budget for agriculture has decreased 2.5 times compared with 2009, from more than 113 million GEL to slightly over 55 million, of which 30 million GEL is state money and 23 million GEL grants and loans. Many programmes of vital importance for the country, such as the rehabilitation of irrigation systems and support of the wine industry, will not be financed at all. Analysts suggest that the rehabilitation of irrigation systems will increase agricultural revenue by 500 million GEL, but it is not being financed.

The programme to equip the country with a sufficient number of tractors, which began in 2008, has stopped. No money for agricultural machinery is allotted in the 2010 budget. There are also serious shortcomings in the direction of supplying the rural population with fuel, diesel and fertiliser, which happened in 2008, nor does the 2010 budget include money for providing seeds to farmers.