Georgia's wheat stocks run out, mills to stop operating soon
Stocks of wheat in Georgia are running out
Wheat stocks in Georgia are exhausted, and in the coming days, all mills in the country will stop operating. This was stated by the Executive Director of the Georgian Association of Wheat and Flour Producers Levan Silagava.
According to Silagava, today only flour is imported into the country, and wheat is not imported. According to him, the reason for this is that there is no import duty on flour and a “floating” duty on wheat.
The Ministry of Environment and Agriculture confirms that wheat stocks have been reduced, but does not specify how it intends to address this problem.
At the same time, the ministry hopes that wheat will become cheaper and the government will act accordingly in July-August. According to them, “imports of wheat have been largely replaced by imports of flour. We have more than enough stocks today, but we have them in the form of flour, not wheat”.
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According to Levan Silagava, the UN recommends that the country have a two-month supply of wheat, not flour. “Unfortunately, the current situation in our country does not comply with the UN recommendations, there are no wheat reserves in the country at all, and how much flour there is remains up to bread producers and the government”:
“Although wheat has been replaced by flour, the price of bread has risen by at least 24% last year, despite flour imports starting in July last year. Bread prices have gone up this year as well”.
The Georgian Wheat and Flour Producers Association demands a meeting with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. Their main proposal is to equalize the taxation of flour imports and wheat imports.
“When wheat is imported, Georgia produces not only flour but also bran. In Georgia, prices for bran have also increased significantly, which also has a negative impact on flour imports. We would like to avoid this and save jobs. As a result of the work of the mills, all taxes – from electricity, water, and income – would go to the budget of Georgia, and today, when we are dependent on imports, they go to the budget of the country from which we bring flour.
Another issue is that there will be carryover stocks of wheat in the country, which will give us more security. There is also a topic that will arise in a few months – in the near future there will be a local harvest of wheat, and the mills will not work”, Silagava said.