On 30 August 2019, a public hearing to discuss Georgia’s Rural and Agricultural Development Strategy for 2021-2027 was conducted at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA). The new strategy document represents a roadmap for Georgia’s rural and agricultural development for the next decade.
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.
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.
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.
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%.