Minister: in Georgia there are no risks with providing the population with food


Minister: in Georgia there are no risks with providing the population with food

03/19/2020

High volume of food will arrive in Georgia soon from abroad, and the grocery basket will be filled with local fruits and vegetables

There is no food shortage in Georgia, and it is not expected, said Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environment and Agriculture. He called on the population not to succumb to panic moods and not to make “virtually uncontrolled purchases,” which, according to him, are the only reason for the short-term absence of some products in stores. The minister made this statement at the end of the meeting of the interagency coordination council, at which various aspects were considered in connection with the threat of the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 in the country.

According to Levan Davitashvili, the state is taking “maximum and very effective steps” in terms of food security. In particular, the department continuously coordinates various links of suppliers, as well as full monitoring of basic food and other essential products (there are more than two dozen of them). And the results of the work done allow us to argue that the country’s food supply is now sufficient, and also that the level of supply will help to avoid shortages in the future.

As Levan Davitashvili emphasized, freight transport to Georgia, as well as through its territory, is carried out and will be carried out without any restrictions from the state. As for climatic conditions, sometimes they really become a temporary obstacle, but the state takes into account this factor.

“We know that many orders are on the way. These days, due to climatic conditions, unloading of vessels entering the Poti port is complicated. A very large queue was formed on Lars (on the Russian-Georgian border – approx. Ed.) – now there are more than 1000 cars loaded with food, due to the fact that cleaning work in some sections of the road is limited based on the threat of avalanches. We expect that in 2-3 days the climatic situation will be corrected, accordingly, the road will be cleared, and a huge supply, which is not just very large, but ordered in excess, since we had regular work with all suppliers, will go to the country …. As regards freight transportation in general, they are usually preserved even in the most critical situations, under the most severe levels of emergency management – so that the supply of food or other important products in our country or in any other country is not limited. ” – said the minister.

See also: What difficulties does quarantine cause in the fruit and vegetable markets of various countries?

Levan Davitashvili separately dwelt on the topic of public access to agricultural products. “A lot of things are changing seasonally. From the point of view of supplying agricultural products, Georgia usually experiences a shortage in winter – in certain areas, and for this very reason the country is increasing its greenhouse areas, which are now 100 times larger than before, and there is still a potential for further increase. Now it’s spring, and since spring, only local fruits, vegetables, and melons, which completely replace imports, have already entered the food basket. For example, in a few weeks we will already have a new potato crop. So from the point of view of food supply in the country there are no risks, ”he said.

He also added that the state does not intend to somehow limit the work of agricultural markets, especially those equipped in open spaces, although additional sanitary and hygienic rules have been introduced for them. “In accordance with the recommendations of doctors, such markets are not those objects that should be closed: trading in the open space contains less risks,” he said.

Another extremely important issue Levan Davitashvili called the preservation of price stability in the country. “We have repeatedly called on businesses to be as responsible as possible and not to use the situation for speculation. However, panic contributes to such phenomena and makes process management even more difficult, and consumers can suffer because of this …. We decided to introduce a special mechanism for maintaining price stability – to insure various economic, financial, including currency risks, importers. This applies to the most critically demanded, most important food products. The government will adopt this mechanism very soon. Now we are working on the details with the business – so that it is acceptable for the business too: it is important for us that the interests of business, as well as the interests of the population, are protected. But in general, this is a tool that implies insurance of exchange rate fluctuations, but on the condition that the business maintain price stability, ”he said.

According to the minister, today in the country the demand for rice, pasta, sunflower oil, flour, sugar, wheat, milk powder and products made from it has increased most. “These are the main products, the price fluctuations of which are very sensitive for the population. And with the help of the aforementioned effective tool, we intend to avoid price fluctuations, ”he said.

On March 19, the Georgian authorities announced that in the interests of consumers, prices for 9 food products – rice, buckwheat, beans, wheat, flour, pasta, sunflower oil, milk powder and sugar – will now be maintained at a stable level in the country
“In the case of speculative price increases, according to the minister, the legislation provides for certain legal mechanisms, the corresponding reaction of law enforcement agencies.” As for compliance with food safety standards, our ministry will be very tough in this regard, “Levan Davitashvili emphasized.

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