The FINANIAL -- The Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, Otar Danelia, emphasised the growth of the volume of processed grapes and stated: “The amount of export equals 8 million in 2015. This is less than the number registered in the same period of the previous year. However, we could have been in a much greater catastrophic situation if not for the policy which we conduct and encourage. This policy is market diversification”
FactCheck addressed the Ministry of Agriculture and requested the respective information.
As illustrated in the table, the volume of processed grapes for industrial purposes has risen sharply. As compared to 2009 (23,000 tonnes) the amount of processed grapes in 2014 (124,606 tonnes) has registered an almost five-fold increase. Additionally, to take the year 2012, as named by the Minister himself and compare it to 2014, we shall see that the amount of processed grapes more than doubled from 54,000 tonnes to 124,606 tonnes.
According to the decision of the Government of Georgia, wine companies are given subsidies as a means of supporting grape farmers to sell their produce. The amounts were as follows for 2013: GEL 0.4 per 1 kilo of Rkatsiteli and Kakhuri Mtsvane grapes and GEL 0.15 per 1 kilo of Saperavi grapes. In 2014, the subsidies for white wine grapes decreased slightly and dropped to GEL 0.35 for Rkatsiteli grapes and Kakhuri Mtsvane grapes whilst the subsidy for red wine grapes remained the same at GEL 0.15 per 1 kilo. There were no subsidies for Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli (Racha grape types) in 2013-2014 because these particular grapes already have a high market price.
To study the issue even further, FactCheck looked into wine export as well. According to the data of the Georgian National Wine Agency, the amount of export to 46 different countries of the world in 2014 comprised 59,067,335 bottles (one bottle is equal to 0.75 litre in volume) which constitutes a 26% increase as compared to 2013. The export income from wine in 2014 amounted to USD 184,927,801 which is 30% more than the number registered in 2013. In the first quarter of 2015, the amount of wine export comprised 5,100,184 bottles which constitutes a 67% decrease as compared to the same period (15,455,103 bottles) of 2014.
As illustrated by the data, wine export has been growing annually since 2010 and reached its maximum in 2014. In 2014, there were 37,615,052 bottles of wine exported to Russia’s market which constituted 63% of the total wine export. However, in the first quarter of 2015, wine export registered a 67% decline as compared to the same period of the previous year. The amount of Georgian wine export to Russia and Ukraine decreased by 83% and 63%, respectively, in 2015 as compared to the same period of the previous year.
In the period 2010-2014, Georgian wine was exported to 61 different countries in total. In 2013-2014, after the abolition of the Russian embargo on Georgian wine, Russia moved to the first place with a great margin: it imported 22,997,170 bottles (49% of Georgia’s total wine export) in 2013 and 37,615,052 bottles (63% of Georgia’s total wine export) in 2014. The other top four countries are the same: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Poland. According to the information of the Georgian National Wine Agency, Russia’s share in Georgia’s wine export constituted 71% in the first quarter of 2014. At the end of the year, a decrease in Russia’s share occurred as a result of export market diversification and the growth of wine export to other countries. As of the first quarter of 2014, Georgian wines were exported to 23 different countries whilst the number reached 46 by the end of the year.
FactCheck concludes that the statement of the Minister of Agriculture of Georgia is MOSTLY TRUE.