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Ministers' week praised amid border and agriculture difficulties

By Salome Modebadze
WEdnesday, March 30
Manana Manjgaladze, the Press Speaker of President Mikheil Saakashvili, summed up the Ministers’ Week at Parliament on March 29. As Manjgaladze told the media at the routine Tuesday briefing, the Parliamentary debates between opposition and the ruling United National Movement (UNM) confirmed that the Georgian Parliament is a place where the sides can share different opinions about the ongoing processes, providing society with sufficient information and answers to many topical issues.

The President’s Press Speaker further spoke of importance of the 10-point socio-economical action plan introduced by PM Nika Gilauri and stressed that Gilauri’s summarizing speech to Parliament would give an additional opportunity to the Government to share their concerns and opinions about the strategic development of the country.

The President’s Administration hesitated to comment on the border delimitation-demarcation processes between Russia and Abkhazia. The commission has started discussing the issue at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 28 and will end the process on April 1.

Projects planned for agricultural benefit have also been welcomed by the President. Emphasizing the increasing number of farmers registered in the corn project, Manjgaladze said that the registration would continue until the end of April and the regional centres of the Ministry of Agriculture would provide all the interested sides with sufficient information. Calling it “an interesting trend” Manjgaladze welcomed the fact that not only the corn producing regions, but the whole of Georgia has been engaged in the process.

“Everyone knows that the Georgian Government has introduced the new hybrid corn seeds with a more efficient harvest. Georgia will thus become a corn exporting country and raise the farmers’ self-confidence,” Manjgaladze stated. New Georgian corn will be exported to Azerbaijan and Turkey but the President’s Press Speaker said that this list would increase.

The Opposition seemed to have the different concern on agricultural projects. Leader of Georgian Troupe opposition MP Jondi Bagatiuria accused President Saakashvili of neglecting his promise to ensure GEL 150 million for agricultural development while the GEL 9 million allocated in the State Budget 2011 wouldn’t be enough to solve the problems within the field. Worrying that the drawbacks within the Georgian agriculture would have a negative effect on the socio-economical conditions of our country, the MP advised the President to honour his promise.

Gia Tsagareishvili MP from Our Georgia – Free Democrats also spoke of Saakashvilissss. Recollecting how the President had promised to provide the agricultural sector with GEL 150 million “for achieving the serious results for the millennia” Tsagareishvili wondered whether this amount really exists or not. Levan Vepkhvadze from Christian-Democratic Parliamentary faction spoke of nonexistence of agricultural development action plan to the media. Worrying that GEL 9 million won’t be enough for the peasants, Vepkhvadze once again highlighted the responsibility of Agricultural Minister Bakur Kvezereli.

Encouraging the peasants to neglect the hybrid corn program offered by the Government, Paata Jibladze from Labor Party spoke of the possible difficulties which the farmers might face in future. “Farmers are forced to take loans at Liberty Bank and in the event of a poor harvest they would lose their land,” he said asking the President to abolish the program.