On March 20, 2019, Pati Mamardashvili presented at the meeting of the Agricultural Innovation Committee of the Georgian Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The meeting was attended by members of the academy, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture.
The topic of the presentation was the agricultural export potential of Georgia. The presentation showed the calculation results of revealed comparative advantage indices for different agricultural products in Georgia for the last 15 years; this provided useful insights into the ex-post export performance of these products. In addition, Pati’s presentation overviewed recent trends in agricultural exports, disaggregated by the selected group of countries (in this case, EU and CIS countries). While the total exports from Georgia to the EU constitutes an increasing trend, agricultural export decreased in 2017 and 2018, due to a significant decline in hazelnut exports. However, wine exports to CIS countries were observed to be on the rise in recent years.
All these different developments suggest that it is too early to judge the benefits of the DCFTA for Georgia’s agricultural exports. Pati’s presentation also outlined the main challenges Georgian agriculture faces in capitalizing on opportunities ofDCFTA. Scale, regularity, and quality of the products are among the main factors. Moreover, the EU market is very competitive and there is a need for detailed sectoral studies (market research) to understand the potential of agricultural products on this market. Pati provided recommendations on the modernization of Georgia’s agriculture and the development of agricultural export of the country.
The participants provided useful feedback on the presentation. The current negative balance of Georgia in terms of agricultural products was intensively discussed, and areas for possible intervention were outlined.