Georgian gov’t to subsidize winemakers with $20 mln
The Georgian government has allocated 60,000,000 GEL (about $20,000,000) from the budget to subsidize the rtveli (grape harvest). However, this only applies to two grape varieties – Rkatsiteli and Kakhuri Mtsvane.
For the current year, companies that are preparing to process more than 1000 tonnes of these two varieties of grapes will receive subsidies.
For each kilogram of purchased grapes, they will receive 30 tetri (about 10 cents) from the state, if they buy from villagers at a cost of no less than 80 tetri per kilogram.
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia says that the decision to subsidize was made in light of the coronavirus crisis.
There was not only a decrease in exports of Georgian wine, but also in domestic demand: the country’s borders have been closed for four months, there have been no tourists, and all cafes, bars and restaurants have been closed.
“Winegrowers are in a difficult position today. And not only in Georgia, but also in such wine-making countries as France, Italy, Spain, which produce 70 percent of the world’s wine. In these difficult times, we still managed to offer minimal guarantees to our winegrowers,” said Minister of the Environment and Agriculture Levan Davitashvili.
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The total grape harvest in Georgia this year will be 280-300,000 tons.
The Georgian government has subsidized viticulture since 2008, after Russia imposed a trade embargo on Georgian products.
Only in 2019 did the authorities decide not allocate funds to this industry, believing that it had gained a firm footing and that it was time for it to start operating under free market laws.
In 2008-2018, a total of 175,800,000 GEL was allocated for viticulture (about $60,000,000 at today’s exchange rate).