The COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns about the food security of many countries, in particular import-dependent developing countries like Georgia. Trade restrictions imposed by Georgia’s trade partners tightened the supply of some cereals and vegetables, signalling the risk of an increase in food prices. While there is no formal evidence of food insecurity due to the pandemic, given that Georgia is a net importer of wheat the state subsidized wheat imports, and, according to Georgia’s Wheat and Flour Producers’ Association, Georgia and the USA agreed on imports of 30,000 tons of American wheat to Georgia. 14,000 tons have already been imported, while the rest is planned to be imported by the end of the year. While diversification of import markets is highly desirable, 30,000 tons represents a rather small share from Georgia’s total imports of wheat.
Over the last 6 years, Georgia has imported on average 500,000 thousand tons of wheat annually and spends on average 100 mln. USD. Most wheat is imported from Russia and the import market is rather concentrated. In 2019, Russia’s share constituted 87% of the total wheat imports. While, overall, Russia’s share ranges from 80% to 100%, there is clearly a declining trend which might be a sign of market diversification.
Georgia’s second largest trade partner is Kazakhstan, with 56 thousand tons comprising 11% of total imports in 2019. Kazakhstan is followed by the USA (1.02%), the Islamic Republic of Iran (0.05%), and Turkey (0.01%). The list of suppliers in 2019 also included Greece, Austria, Germany, and France but with very limited shares of total imports.