2017 was a challenging year for Georgian agriculture. There is a decline in the level of sown areas, which decreased by 10.5% in 2017 compared to 2016. 214.9 thousand ha in 2017 is the lowest figure for the last four years. Average yields and production decreased for most crops, as well.
As to prices, from an annual perspective (March 2018 vs. March 2017), the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 3.9%. The main driver was price change in the sub-group of fruit and grapes.
In March 2018, fruit and grapes became more expensive by 25.6% compared to March 2017. According to Geostat data, prices increased mostly for plums (60%), apples (41%), and tangerines (36%). Meanwhile, prices dropped for kiwi (-19%) and pears (-10%). In 2017, a spring frost followed by a summer drought created unfavorable weather conditions for deciduous fruit trees.
The high prices of fruit and grapes might therefore be the result of a bad harvest and decreased production. Consequently, Georgia increased its imports of fruits and grapes to meet demand. According to trade data, in March 2018, imports of fruit and grapes sharply increased by 92%, from 5,045.96 tons to 9,692.69 tons compared to the previous year. In contrast, Georgia’s exports in this category decreased by 36%, compared to the same period, which also indicates a shortage in supply. International prices have also slightly increased (by 0.7%) in March 2018.
As to trade, during March 2018, Georgia’s agricultural exports (including food) amounted to 23% of total Georgian export value. While comparing this indicator to March 2017, it is 7.8% higher. As to imports, in March 2018, Georgia’s agro import constituted 19% of total Georgian imports. Year over year (compared to March 2017), agricultural imports increased by 54%.