Georgia will continue to implement a program aimed at supporting farmers willing to start or switch to bio-production in 2023, the Rural Development Agency of Georgia (RDA) told EastFruit.
The program to promote bioproduction was initiated as part of the “Unified Agro Project” implemented by the Agency in summer 2022 in a pilot mode, for which 300 000 GEL ($112 000) were allocated from the state budget then.
According to the RDA, the funding for the program will increase to 500 000 GEL ($186 000) in 2023. At the same time, “taking into account the fact that support for organic production is one of the priorities of the state, if necessary, the issue of increasing funding will be considered.”
The bioproduction promotion program consists of two parts. The first covers farms of any profile, both those at the stage of transition to bioproduction, and those willing to immediately start producing organic products. Under the current terms of the program, RDA is ready to reimburse a farmer for 70% of all expenses (but not more than 7 000 GEL or $2 600) to get a biocertificate and consulting services for the entire period. However, if the source of co-financing from the beneficiary is the donor organization, the RDA reimbursement will be up to 40% (but no more than 4 000 GEL or $1 500).
The second part concerns growers and beekeepers. In addition to these costs, RDA is ready to cover part of the costs for the purchase of organic fertilizers and/or biological products approved for organic production in the conversion process against plant diseases and pests, biological products for the treatment of bees, as well as for the analysis of honey and beeswax.
The Agency emphasized that the corresponding payment will be done to the beneficiary after they present the biocertificate.
As the head of the Rural Development Agency, Ilya Tamarashvili, explained earlier, viticulture and beekeeping were highlighted in the program as promising areas, since it is in these sectors that “there is a critical mass of production where farmers can switch to bio-production.” At the same time, he did not rule out that the state would focus on helping other areas as well in the future.
“Bioproduction has great potential in both domestic and export markets. In such a farm, the farmer may not receive the same volume of products as in the usual one, but the price will be much higher. Naturally, commercial assessments must be done before starting bioproduction. At the same time, one should take into account that there will always be demand for bioproducts. After the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism is recovering, a healthy lifestyle has become more valued, and organic products are very important in a diet. Most importantly, this is a niche product in terms of export, and in any case, there will be demand for it,” said Ilya Tamarashvili.
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