25 July 2024,   16:29
Blueberry production and export is expected to double this year - Otar Shamugia

The Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Otar Shamugia, together with the State Representative of Imereti region, Zviad Shalamberidze, and the Director of Rural Development Agency, David Tsitlidze, got familiar with the harvesting process in the blueberry orchard of “Agroveli” company in Gocha Jikhaishi village, Khoni municipality.

“We continue to meet farmers in different regions across the country. Moreover, we learn about their needs, hear their opinions, and get familiar with the current process. Currently, the blueberry picking/selling season is in full swing. This year, we expect to double blueberry production and export, bringing about GEL 100-120 million in export income for our farmers and entrepreneurs. These figures will increase in the coming years. Our goal is to support farmers as much as possible”, - said Otar Shamugia.

According to Irakli Firtskhailashvili, the founder of “Agroveli” LLC, the state programs are a significant prerequisite for developing farming activities. Agroveli" LLC owns a 32-hectare blueberry plantation. This year, the company expects to harvest 120-130 tonnes during the season. The company has 20 permanent and 300 seasonal employees.

Meanwhile, blueberries are actively picked and exported to different European countries. At this stage, the company has already exported fifty-five tonnes of blueberries. The company benefited from the Rural Development Agency’s programs “Plant the Future”, “Technical Assistance Program”, and the “Preferential Agrocredit” project.

It is worth mentioning that the Preferential agro-credit exceeding GEL 162 million is issued for blueberry cultivation across Georgia, while the Rural Development Agency subsidizes the loan interest in the amount of GEL 29 million. Furthermore, more than GEL 22 million has been allocated for blueberry cultivation in the Imereti region, with the co-financing from the Rural Development Agency exceeding GEL 4 million.

Blueberry planting has been co-financed with GEL 50.4 million on 2,864 hectares in Georgia under the "Plant the Future" program, including GEL 10.4 million allocated for planting the blueberry crop on 581 hectares in the Imereti region.