The lockdowns and trade restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in shortages of some major food commodities on international and local markets. In this policy brief, we discuss and analyze Georgia's response to the crisis in terms of food security and agricultural policy. Furthermore, we provide recommendations to ensure fewer disruptions in food supply chains and low volatility in food prices.
COVID-19 has posed significant risks to the food security of many countries including Georgia. Lockdowns and pandemic-related trade restrictions across the world have resulted in shortages of some major food commodities on international and local markets (e.g. sunflower oil shortage in Russia). As of October 16, 2020, according to a World Bank report, 62 jurisdictions have executed a total of 62 export controls in food commodities since the beginning of 2020.
Most of the interventions have involved import reforms with the largest number of new regulations imposed in March-April. On August 18, 2020, the Eurasian Economic Commission announced an EAEU import tariff quota on certain agricultural goods, valid for 2021. Turkey has also conducted a price stabilization policy by announcing purchasing prices for apricots, paddy, and dried raisin. On August 5, 2020, the government of Turkey introduced additional customs duties on certain agricultural products including chocolate, pasta, and some food preparations. It also eliminated import duties on wheat and barley in October.