Harvest of almonds and walnuts in Georgia to exceed 11 thousand tons by 2025 – AWPA


Harvest of almonds and walnuts in Georgia to exceed 11 thousand tons by 2025 – AWPA

02/14/2020

According to AWPA, at the end of 2019, the total area of ​​almond plantations in the country exceeds 4 thousand hectares.

By 2025, the yield of almonds and walnuts in Georgia will be 11 thousand tons only for small and medium-sized farmers, and this is a rather serious amount for the country that has started their industrial cultivation relatively recently, ”said the Executive Director of the Association of Almonds and Walnuts of Georgia (AWPA ) Irakli Arzhevanidze, commenting on the results of a study of the production potential in the country of these nut crops, conducted by the Association and N (N) YL Agroservice with the support of the USAID Agricultural Program.

As part of the study, the situation on the farms of 510 farmers was studied, the total area of ​​nut plantations (both already yielding crops and recently planted) of which is about 5,000 ha. At the same time, the study did not include large farmers who own more than 500 hectares of walnut orchards.

Against such expectations, according to Irakli Arzhevanidze, there are practically no modern technologies and equipment for processing almonds and walnuts in the country, and this is a serious challenge in the direction of industry development.

“Processing of nuts is an opportunity to produce more expensive products, in addition, processed products are stored longer. It should also be understood that the development of this area will increase the number of people employed in the country and the role of Georgia in the world … Our Association is working in this direction, is negotiating with investors – so that by 2025 in Georgia there will be the possibility of sorting, warehousing, processing, preparing ready for export products, ”he said in the program“ Sakmiani Dila ”(“ Business Morning ”), which is being prepared by the bm.ge multimedia resource.

According to Irakli Arzhevanidze, AWPA is currently collaborating, in particular, with a potential investor from Poland who has visited Georgia, inspected walnut and almond gardens, held meetings with representatives of government agencies in charge of the development of the industry. “In this case, we are talking about selection, calibration, storage, it will also be sold as services. And the second and most important thing is the production of almond milk and almond flour, so that it is possible to export these products …. At this stage, we are selecting a specific location where the production will be located, equipment, discussing the arrangement of the production area of ​​lightweight structures. If everything goes well, then the project will be completed by 2023, ”he said.

At the same time, as Irakli Arzhevanidze emphasized, the lack of knowledge and modern technologies for planting and caring for almonds and walnuts still remains a problem in the country, and AWPA is taking certain steps to overcome it. “Many do not realize that it is not enough just to plant nut crops, and that they need proper care. In addition, knowledge also requires the arrangement of the garden itself – you need to study the soil composition in advance, select varieties, plan the location of the garden, etc. It is necessary to properly assess their financial capabilities. Only taking all factors into account gives the best possible result, ”he said.

Read also: New competitor for Ukraine and Moldova – Georgia increases walnut export

Another serious challenge that emerged during the study, according to Arzhevanidze, is the difficulty in selling the crop to small farmers. “We think that the Association should join in the solution of this problem and contribute, for example, so that Georgian products fall under one specific brand, indicating that this is a Georgian product. The association should help farmers with the harvest, and with its export, and with relations with potential buyers in Georgia. As part of this area of ​​activity, we have already planned to participate in several international exhibitions, where we will represent all Georgian farmers. In addition, our contact information makes contacting us as simple as possible, ”he said.

According to Arzhevanidze, AWPA also collaborates with government agencies in developing the industry. Recently, the Association approached the state with an initiative to exempt from VAT (without credit) the supply of peeled almonds and walnuts. Such a norm in the country already applies to peeled hazelnuts.

In general, according to the AWPA Executive Director, Georgia has good potential for the development of the production of almonds and walnuts, which are in demand both in the world and in Georgia itself.

“I want to note that the world’s largest supplier of almonds – the USA – now has problems with water, and this country is looking for an alternative place where it can grow such a crop. And Georgia in its geographical location, climatic conditions can become one of the best places in order not only to become a replacement, but also to help the world in the supply of popular products. In addition, the demand for nuts, especially walnuts, is very high in Georgia itself, including based on the peculiarities of Georgian cuisine. If you look at the statistics, there are so many imported walnuts here that you can assume that the very restaurants in Georgian cuisine work mainly on imported raw materials. But there is an opportunity to replace it with Georgian raw materials, ”he said.

The Ministry of Environment and Agriculture of Georgia considers the development of production of walnut crops in the country as one of the promising areas. About 5 thousand hectares of walnut orchards in the country were planted with the support of the Plant the Future project (part of the state-owned Unified Agricultural Project).

According to AWPA, at the end of 2019, the total area of ​​almond plantations in the country exceeds 4 thousand hectares, and the first commercial harvests are expected from 2020. Gardens of modern walnut varieties occupy more than 3 thousand hectares in Georgia, and a number of them are already bearing fruit.

According to the National Statistics Service, the export (including re-export) of walnuts from Georgia in 2019 amounted to $ 1 million 361.9 thousand, including kernels – $ 1 million 289.7 thousand. At the same time, the import of walnuts into Georgia over the past the year reached $ 5 million 424.9 thousand, including cores – $ 4 million 355.8 thousand.

Export (including re-export) of almonds from Georgia in 2019 amounted to $ 264.4 thousand (kernels only). Almond imports to Georgia for the same period amounted to $ 2 million 558.6 thousand, including kernels – $ 2 million 150.8 thousand.

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