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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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Dec
14

COVID-19 and Food Safety in Georgia

“Food safety risks cannot be entirely eliminated but must be managed along the entire food chain, from farm to table. Reducing food safety risks requires collaboration across sectors, stakeholders and national borders” Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. It has been almost a year since the world started struggling with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries follow the recommendations and precautions provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to prevent the spread of the virus. While various businesses, scho...
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Oct
12

To Subsidize or Not to Subsidize Georgia’s Wine Sector?

“Rtveli 2020” – a traditional vintage and rural harvest holiday in Georgia accompanied by feasts, musical events and other celebrations started on August 26. This year, the Government of Georgia (GoG) is subsidizing the grape harvest to support growers in selling their products. 0.3 GEL of the total 0.8 GEL per kg of Rkatsiteli or Kakhuri Mtsvane is subsidized. In the case of extreme necessity, the GoG will be involved in the purchase of grapes as well. Supporting the wine sector is part of the anti-crisis plan to handle the economic challenges caused by...
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Jun
22

The Impact of Food Safety Regulations on Agricultural Trade

From a trade perspective, the most important aspects of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, signed on 27 June 2014, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), are the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and the food safety standards and technical regulations required for access to European markets. Georgia’s export to the EU is still rather limited, and one possible cause for this deficiency, amongst others, is the limited capacity to comply with food safety regulations and standards. The DCFTA is, moreover, different from othe...
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May
18

Agricultural Anti-Crisis Plan Assessment

Agricultural and rural development play an important role in the country’s socio-economic development. The restrictions imposed during the pandemic have hindered spring agricultural works which has significantly worsened conditions for farmers and stalled their future potential. Consequently, the Georgian government developed an anti-crisis plan, “Caring for Farmers and Agriculture”, that was presented on 12 March. The proposal entails two forms of aid: direct assistance and sectorial support. Table 1 summarizes each component of the plan: Table 1. Suppo...
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Jan
24

Earth Is not Cool, It Is Getting Hotter!!!

Did you know that: • the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years? • average wildlife populations have dropped by 60% in just over 40 years (60% between 1970 and 2014)? • every year, nearly 1 million hectares (larger than New York City) of coastal ecosystems are destroyed? • in the past 20 years, 4.2 billion people have been affected by weather-related disasters, including a significant loss of lives? These and other broader changes such as rising sea levels, accelerating ice melt, shifting seasons, etc.  occurring on earth are...
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Dec
30

Food Prices are on Fire

In November 2019, prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, as measured by the Food Price Index (FPI), drastically increased by 13.4% compared to November 2018 and contributed 4.02 percentage points to the change in the total Consumer Price Index (CPI). In recent months, annual food inflation marked at its highest level since August 2011 (Figure 1).1 Figure 1: Annual Food Price Inflation (January 2010-November 2019) Prices increased for all sub-categories of food and non-alcoholic beverages. The largest price increases were observed for fruits and gr...
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