ISET

The share of the rural population in the total population decreased slightly, from 42.6% in 2015 to 41.3% in the beginning of 2019. The share of agriculture in total GDP has also declined, from 9.1% in 2015 to 7.7% in 2018. While production figures have gone up, there was a 6.4% increase in agricultural production in 2018 compared to the previous year. Production in the plant-growing sector increased by 10.9%, and animal production experienced an increase of 2.1% compared to 2017. Looking at the self-sufficiency ratio, the highest decrease was for grapes, followed by vegetables, and the highest increase was for meat, followed by maize.

An agro insurance program was started in September 2014. The program is subsidized by the state and eight insurance companies participate in the program. The insurance package covers losses caused by hail, flooding, and storms, as well as by autumn frost (covered only for citrus). Since the beginning of the program, 49.3 thousand farmers (unique beneficiaries) have purchased insurance. The demand was particularly high in 2014 and dropped afterwards due to the reduction of the state subsidy from 90% to 70%, advancements to the program start date in later years, and the introduction of new requirements throughout program implementation.

In 2018, FDI in agriculture constituted 15.9 mln. USD. While the total FDI in 2018 was lower than in 2017, FDI in agriculture has significantly increased (by 28.2%). The highest FDI in agriculture was observed in the second quarter of 2018, while there was divestment (negative FDI) in the first quarter of 2018. The divestment was quite small and was followed by a significant increase in other quarters. Given that demand for food is likely to increase in the future, FDI in agriculture is critical for the expansion of agricultural output.

According to GeoStat’s preliminary data for 2018, Georgia’s economy grew by 4.7%- the same rate as in 2017. As 2017 was a challenging year for Georgian agriculture, the sector experienced -3.8% negative growth. Unlike 2017, agriculture in 2018 had a positive and rather modest growth rate of 0.7%. As expected, agriculture keeps proportionally shrinking within the country’s overall GDP- it stood at 7.7% in 2018 compared to 8.0% in 2017.

The weak stake of agriculture in the overall GDP is not necessarily an issue, given that the world average was 6.4% in 2017 (CIA estimate). The figure is even lower in developed countries, which vary between 1% and 3%. Thus, the decline would not be harmful to the Georgian economy, if not for the fact that around 40% of the labor force is still employed in agriculture. According to the World Bank estimate (2018), the world average employment in agriculture is 26%, though it does not exceed 5% in the developed world (OECD countries).

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