Land Ownership of Agricultural Land: Political Stability and Social Cohesion vs. Economic Efficiency
Monday, 18 November, 2013

On November 8, 2013, ISET hosted the first event in a series of discussions on the topic of inclusive growth. The topic of the event was Land ownership of agricultural land: political stability and social cohesion vs. economic efficiency. The presentation opened with a short video prepared especially for the dialogue and was followed by a short presentation about the sector.

Moderated by Giorgi Bakradze, senior research advisor at the ISET Policy Institute, the central question addressed by the various stakeholders was how Georgia could ensure investors’ property rights, promote land consolidation, and develop modern agribusinesses while, at the same time, benefiting the poor, maintaining social cohesion and avoiding political destabilization. Other issues for discussion were what to do with the past and in the future; how to reconcile investors and attract even more capital in agriculture.

The panel included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Agency of Public Registry, the parliamentary agriculture committee, ISET, ISET Policy Institute, and foreign investors. The panel members began by discussing the main issues related to land registration and land ownership from the perspective of their institutions.

The main points/problems underlined during the discussion included: land registration and its coverage, low levels of awareness, a lack of access to statistical information and research in the field, and no strategic/consolidated view for solving the problems.

The dialogue continued with a question and answer session where the audience was able to state their own opinions on the topics discussed and pose questions to the panel of experts.

Eric Livny, executive director of ISET, offered a conclusion and mentioned the case of Pieter Kamp, a Boer farmer established in the Kakheti region, to underline the need and importance of balanced cooperation between foreign investors in agriculture and local farmers. An efficient policy will bring the country to a win-win situation, where all stakeholders will be happy.

The main goal of the project, funded by the Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus, is to provide a neutral platform for a regular discussion of Georgian government policies, donor programs, and civil society-driven initiatives to promote inclusive growth. All interested stakeholders will be engaged in a series of roundtable meetings and lectures complemented by follow-up site visits, additional research, and analysis. In the end, what we would like to do is share knowledge, learn from the experience of others, and come up with new ideas.