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New Export Opportunities in the Agricultural Industry

Georgia, with its diverse climate resources, allows the production of various perspective one year and perennial crops.

Georgia is known as the homeland of wheat and vine, although besides these two cultures, Georgia has a lot of other popular crops. Recently, the agricultural sector is developing step by step. Both Georgian, as well as foreign businessmen are mainly interested in the direction of perennial crops and are implementing big investments.

Georgia is a country with not so much of land and therefore the interest is expressed on highly profitable crops. Cultures with big income require large investments and time.

Recently, several directions of agriculture are actively developing in our country. The basic interest is on export crops. In 2015, according to preliminary data, exports of agricultural products from Georgia to EU amounted 208 million US dollars, which is approximately 30 % of the total exports from Georgia to EU. From the Georgian agricultural products, biggest amount of nuts and wine are still sold on the European markets. However, since 2014 after the effectiveness of trade component of the Association Agreement (DCFTA), the interests towards the EU from the Georgian Entrepreneurs have been growing more and more.

In the regions of West Georgia: Imereti, Samegrelo, Adjara and Guria, there have been carried out the cultivation of high-quality blueberries. In the above mentioned regions there are already cultivated several hundreds of hectares of blubbery plantations. Most of them are already harvested. The majority of produced blueberries are exported, which is more increasing the interest towards the above mentioned crop. The index of blueberry export is increasing (In 2014 -150 thousand US dollars, in 2015 -215 thousand US dollars). The international demand on the blueberry is rapidly rising. In 2010-2014 the blueberry import in EU has been doubled.

Among the berry crops, besides the blueberry, there is a high demand on the production of blackberry and raspberry (thorn-free). Unlike the blueberry, the orchards of blackberry and raspberry are in a very small amount and their total area is less than 50 hectares. Both Georgian and foreign entrepreneurs are actively cultivating each year the gardens of blackberry and raspberry. It should be noted that blueberries, as well as other berry crops are having great export potential.

In the export basket of food products, nuts are taking top ranking. In 2016, from Georgia there was exported nuts with total cost of 178 million US dollars. Correspondingly, annually the number of orchards and areas of nuts are rising. Besides the nuts, there is an active cultivation of other nut crops, such are walnut, almond, and pistachio nuts.

During the last 4 years, intensive type of walnut orchards have been planted on several hundreds of hectares in Georgia and amount of orchards are annually rising.

There is a big interest expressed towards the almond orchards. There have already been planted more than 400 hectares of almond orchards in Georgia and the interests of investors in this direction are very high.  The almond is very prosperous crop, having a big export potential.

The culture of pistachio nuts in Georgia is recently developing. If the almonds, walnuts and nuts are well-known and traditional cultures for Georgia, the first orchards of pistachio nuts appeared only several years ago. Basically, the foreign investors are planting pistachio nuts and they have found specific markets for its realization.

In Georgia the orchards of nuts are growing annually and very soon walnuts, almonds and pistachio nuts will occupy the respectable place in the export basket.

Irakli Chikava – Agro Solutions