Farmers in Eastern Georgia will be able to grow and market their agricultural products under strict quarantine


Farmers in Eastern Georgia will be able to grow and market their agricultural products under strict quarantine

03/24/2020

The Georgian authorities are trying as hard as possible so that residents do not have any problems in carrying out agricultural work, this also applies to providing them with fuel

In Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities of the Kvemo Kartli region, which is one of the main suppliers of early vegetables and greenery to the Georgian markets, in the framework of the state of emergency in the country due to the threat of the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, strict quarantine restrictions were introduced on March 23. Along with this, it was announced that farmers in these areas will be allowed to carry out agricultural work, but in accordance with the protocol of the Ministry of Health. On the eve of many farmers, amid the uncertainty that had arisen, refrained from entering their agricultural plots. In addition, several agro-producers in Marneuli and Bolnisi districts told EastFruit that on the morning of March 23 they were unable to export their products to Tbilisi – their transport was stopped and they were forced to return.

EastFruit asked Georgian Prime Minister Sozar Subari, an adviser on regional development, to clarify the issues, who oversees the situation in Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities.

As noted by Sozar Subari, the authorities are trying as hard as possible so that residents of the indicated municipalities do not have any problems in carrying out agricultural work, this also applies to providing them with fuel, but they, in turn, must comply with the general rules of quarantine restrictions. “For example, if people are sent to agricultural work on cars, then in each of them, in addition to the driver, there should be a maximum of two people, on the land people should keep a distance, not gather many people at a time, etc. I don’t think that the police will be able to control the issue of distance on the field in detail, but a lot of things around the world depend on people’s self-awareness, and I think Georgia is no exception in this case, ”he said.

Regarding the shipment of agricultural products from Bolnisi and Marneuli to other areas, including to Tbilisi markets, according to Sozar Subari, under the current restrictions, it really cannot be carried out as freely as before, but a special mechanism has been developed to solve this an issue that is planned to be fully utilized today.

“With regard to the transport of products from the Bolnisi and Marneuli municipalities, uniform rules apply, introduced under quarantine restrictions. So, the person who carries her does not have the right to travel outside these municipalities. Only a person who has been quarantined for two weeks can leave the territory. This is happening all over the world, and Georgia, in this case, is no exception. Another thing is that the agricultural producers of these municipalities will have the opportunity, bringing their products to specific places on the so-called border, to hand them over to some intermediary companies, unless, of course, they agree on a price. These companies will not enter the quarantine zone, but they and local producers will have the opportunity to maintain relations, and we will help them in this, ”Sozar Subari said.

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As for the agricultural products themselves, there is no need for any special disinfection of them, ”the adviser to the Prime Minister added.

In accordance with the quarantine restrictions imposed on Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities on March 23, citizens are forbidden to enter and leave their territory (without passing a two-week quarantine), and public transport is limited. On the territory of the municipalities, all objects are closed, with the exception of food stores, pharmacies and other objects related to critical infrastructure, including bakeries and agro-food processing enterprises. Citizens are prohibited from leaving home without a good reason. To coordinate the situation on the spot, a working headquarters was formed from representatives of a number of government agencies. One of the volunteer groups, which includes doctors, checks the health status of residents of municipalities at home. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the movement along the main roads of the Kvemo Kartli region is controlled by 12 checkpoints, while the rest of the roads are controlled by mobile posts.

According to media reports, on the eve of the checkpoint all trucks passed through the territory of the Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities without stopping on their territory.

Tough quarantine measures were introduced in Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities after the detection of the COVID-19 coronavirus from a Marneuli resident, whose source of infection was not established, and who participated in a ritual event (anniversary of the death of a relative) along with residents of these municipalities, as well as guests from abroad.

At the end of 2018, the Kvemo Kartli region was in first place among the regions of Georgia for the production of cucumber – 43.3% (or 14.3 thousand tons) of the country’s total crop and tomato – 36.0% (or 18.6 thousand tons) ), in second place in the production of onions – 28.1% (or 2.5 thousand tons), potatoes – 20.2% (47.9 thousand tons), greens – 9.5% (0.7 thousand tons) etc.

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