Georgian wheat farmers face new challenges ahead of new harvest
As last year’s harvest is shrinking day by day, Georgian wheat farmers are struggling to store and sell this year’s crop due to the war in Ukraine.
Harvests in Mindia Gushikashvili doubled compared to the same period last year as many Georgian farmers expanded their fields to increase supply.
He says many Georgian farmers have expanded their fields to help the country escape the possible crop shortfall that could arise due to the raging war in Ukraine.
Crop growers will be harvesting in a few weeks, while their barns are still full of previous crops that are yet to be sold.
Farmers say there is no market demand for their wheat this year and the current price is well below its peak price.
“It’s a disaster for us!” said Gushikashvili.
The grain is old at a market price of 15 to 18 cents, but the cost of production is 22 to 25 cents.
Farmers say that this year the improvement of cultivated fields is more expensive because land rent has increased. There is also a storage problem.
Experts say local wheat demand has declined due to Russia’s economic policy. They say that Georgia depends a lot on the Russian agricultural market.
Two years ago, Russia taxed exports, but exempted flour. This meant that Georgian farmers preferred to import cheaper flour than the expensive crop.
Making it cheaper than Goerigan Flour and the favorite product of local shoppers.
As a result, barns in Georgia began to fill up after each harvest, bringing them to a standstill.
“This led to a situation where farmers could no longer sell their harvest from the previous year to the mills,” said Levan Silagava, executive director of the Georgian Association of Wheat and Flour Producers.
Representatives of the struggling industry continue to communicate with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Representatives of the struggling industry are in constant communication with the Georgia Department of Agriculture. According to the ministry, they are looking for a solution to relieve wheat farmers of their frustration, without increasing the market price.
Meanwhile, the harvest season is less than a month away and farmers have no idea how (or where) to store the fresh crop while the old crop remains unsold.