According to Vakhtang Bezhitashvili, head of the Georgian Fruit Exporters Association, exports are expected to decline this year. Among other factors, an increase in tourism and migration contributes to this, resulting in an increase in domestic demand. There are also issues impeding exports, Business Georgia writes.
“For example, the citrus season is now on in Georgia, but this year’s harvest is 20 000 tonnes less than last year, and the quality and condition of the expected 40 000 tonnes will not be suitable for export. As for apples, the harvest is very large, but there are issues with quality and packaging. Today, when markets are open, well-packaged products come from different countries, but we still have not introduced modern technologies and standards. In addition, there are not enough refrigerators for storing products. If the infrastructure is not being created, and the quality of products is not growing, there is no point in talking about exporting,” says Vakhtang Bezhitashvili.
According to him, currently, the main export market for Georgian fruits and vegetables is still Russia – about 80% of the products go there. There was also export to Ukraine, which was suspended due to war and logistical complications.
“Today, Russia continues to trade with us, but no one knows what happens tomorrow, so we must diversify our sales markets. Georgia does have the potential to grow environmentally friendly products, but there is still a lot to be done in this field. Moreover, action is needed both from the state, and from associations and enterprises, so that the sector develops, and rural products do not depend on subsidies,” Vakhtang Bezhitashvili notes.