Hazelnuts are one of the most important crops for Georgia in terms of export: between 2010-2021, they accounted for around 4.4% of total exports (GeoStat, 2022). In 2013, the quantity of exported hazelnuts reached its maximum level (30 ths. tons), in the following years, it then decreased to 19 ths. tons alongside an increase in value, thus indicating higher prices per exported kg of Georgian hazelnut. However, 2017 was a very challenging year for hazelnuts, as the trees suffered various fungal diseases and an Asian Stink Bug (Pharosana) invasion subsequently worsened the situation. Accordingly, both the quality and quantity of hazelnut production declined. In 2019, the hazelnut sector rebounded and production, as well as export, increased in 2020 and 2021.
This year has again been challenging for the hazelnut sector, mainly due to unfavorable weather conditions. Farmers were unable to properly carry out crop maintenance measures and, consequently, there have been various concerns about decreased production and the quality of the nuts.
In response to these challenges, on 31 October 2022 the Government of Georgia (GoG) launched a new program to promote the production of hazelnuts and to aid farmers. The program is being implemented by the Rural Development Agency, under the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, and around 20 mln. GEL is being allocated during its initial stage.