The registration of hazelnut orchards in Georgia in the Hazelnut Cadastre, which was planned to be completed on February 17, has been extended until April 28 inclusive.
According to the Georgian Rural Development Agency (RDA), as of February 17, 36 913 ha of hazelnut orchards were registered in the Hazelnut Cadastre.
Registration in the Hazelnut Cadastre of Georgia is a prerequisite for the participation of farmers in the State Hazelnut Production Assistance Program to start on October 31, 2022. Upon completion of registration, the state will begin financial support for hazelnut growers, EastFruit reports.
Within the program, hazelnut growers – individuals who own or use hazelnut orchards of 0.2 to 3 hectares, will receive a subsidy from the state of 500 GEL ($189 at the current exchange rate) per 1 ha. Points will be credited to farmers on their agricultural cards in Liberty Bank, using which they will be able to purchase the goods necessary for caring for hazelnuts in specialized agricultural stores. Points on agricultural cards will be valid until August 31.
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Individuals owning hazelnut orchards of 3 ha or more, as well as legal entities engaged in the production of hazelnuts, will be able to receive preferential agricultural loans to replenish working capital within the framework of the program. According to the RDA, the allowable amount of such loans is from 5 000 to 100 000 GEL ($1 900- $37 900). Part of the annual interest rate on the loan, namely 8%, will be covered by the Agency.
According to the Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association (GHGA), full maintenance of hazelnut orchards currently costs about 1 000 GEL ($379) per hectare.
Registration of hazelnut orchards is carried out by the RDA working group on the Hazelnut Cadastre during trips to the villages. The schedule of the visits to villages is published in advance and updated weekly. The Association of Hazelnut Producers participates in the preparation of the Cadastre.
The Hazelnut Cadastre includes data on the location and boundaries of a hazelnut orchard, its owner (whether the owner or tenant), the age of the orchards, hazelnut varieties, yields, etc. It is believed that the database will improve the coordination of measures for hazelnut orchard maintenance and protection from diseases and pests, and will help in planning the steps of the state and the Association to support hazelnut growers in international markets.
The 2022 hazelnut harvest in Georgia was lower than last year in both volume and quality. According to experts, about 40 000-45 000 tonnes of hazelnuts were harvested last year (in 2021 – about 60 000 tonnes), and the share of high-quality hazelnuts was only about 20%. This was the result of the fact that many hazelnut orchards, due to bad weather conditions and/or lack of funds from farmers, were not treated properly, which led to the reproduction of the marble bug and various plant diseases in these orchards.
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