23 May 2024,   13:01
Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Otar Shamugia, opens the Blueberry Forum

The Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Otar Shamugia, made opening remarks at the Blueberry Forum organized by the Ministry and supported by the Georgian Blueberry Growers’ Association (GBGA). The representatives of the Agrarian Issues Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, the Rural Development Agency, the Chamber of Commerce, international consultants, and the GBGA participated in the event.

“Blueberry production is one of the clear and successful examples of the “Plant the Future” program, through which we started financing this crop culture. With the state’s support, together with the farmers, we were able to plant blueberry orchards on up to 2800 hectares of agricultural land. We exported more than USD 20 million in the previous year. A few years ago, there was no blueberry production in the nation, hence, this figure was zero.

Farmers started cultivating a completely new, non-traditional crop culture that had been introduced in the country. Along with cultivation and farming, it is essential to correctly store the product by following the proper guidelines and appropriate standards before selling it in various markets. Market diversification is, of course, one of the crucial directions and challenges. With the support of the Rural Development Agency, we actively assist our farmers in this section as well. Furthermore, our farmers and Georgian blueberries are showcased at international exhibitions in different countries, which helps them to establish relevant contacts. Such assistance will enable blueberries to become a significant source of income for our farmers”, - said Otar Shamugia.

The forum also included a panel discussion on the development of blueberry crops as a strategic, key industry sector, the current support programs from the state, the importance of planting orchards following international standards, the role of the association in the blueberry industry, challenges, and prospects.