The Georgian govt’s new plan to save agriculture
Agriculture is the second industry after tourism to which the Georgian government has decided to devote special attention, allocating 300,000,000 lari [around $93,000,000] for its development. This is 100,000,000 lari more than the aid given to the tourism sector.
Estimates say this money will help 200,000 farmers.
The government developed an anti-crisis plan which is meant to reduce the damage done to the agricultural industry by the coronavirus pandemic.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia described the main goal of the program by saying: “No land should be left uncultivated in the country.”
Here are some of the main figures from the anti-crisis program:
- 300,000,000 lari [around $93,000,000] will go towards agricultural subsidies
- 17 percent co-financing on loans
- 70 percent co-financing for agricultural insurance
- Farmers will receive 200 lari [$62] for every hectare of land
- Irrigation taxes will be cancelled
- One lari for every litre of diesel fuel will be financed by the government.
Who will receive assistance
Farmers who own more than 0.25 hectares of land registered in the public registry can count on receiving assistance. Those who have not yet registered their land will also be able to receive aid to the tune of 200 lari [around $62] per hectare, if they register their land before the end of the year.
Farmers owning plots from 0.25 hectares to 100 hectares will be able to buy up to 150 liters of diesel fuel per hectare at a discount – one lari cheaper than the market price.
Farmers whose plots do not exceed 10 hectares are exempted from irrigation fees until the end of the year, and all debts for irrigation from 2012-2019 will be written off.
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Aside from that, farmers will be able to receive a 50-percent government subsidy on sums up to 50,000 lari [around $15,600] for agricultural products.
The grant may be used for purchasing agricultural machinery, for building new greenhouses and/or modernizing an existing one, or for purchasing or installing an irrigation system for annual crops.
In total, the budget of this project is 10,000,000 [about $ 3,120,000].
Free land registration
The next step of the agricultural anti-crisis plan will begin May 20. All farmers who legally own land and have the correct documents will be able to register their land for free until the end of 2020
How to receive aid
To receive aid, farmers must register with the Ministry of Agriculture’s farmer registry.
In addition, farmers must have a bank account with Liberty Bank, where the money will be credited
Those who already have the so-called agricultural card will be able to use the service automatically, and those who do not have such a card, but have a registered land, will receive a card within a month.
Money on the agricultural card can only be used to purchase agricultural products – biological or chemical fertilizers and pesticides, as well as seeds and planting materials.