March 2024 | Agri Review
01 April 2024

In June 2023, responding to appeals from the Georgian Flour Producers Association, the Georgian government imposed a temporary import duty on wheat flour imported from Russia. This advocacy by the Association began after Russia implemented a “floating tariff” on wheat in 2021, making wheat imports more expensive compared to wheat flour. Consequently, wheat flour imports surged, nearly replacing wheat imports entirely. This led to the closure of many Georgian mills, together with difficulties for local wheat producers in selling their wheat domestically. The surge in flour imports also heightened the risk of completely displacing domestically produced flour with Russian imports.

Despite Georgia’s increase in domestic wheat production over the past decade, the country still imports nearly 80% of its wheat – primarily from Russia. To mitigate the long-term risks of food scarcity, it is recommended that a long-term vision is developed for the sector; wheat yields are boosted; the quality of local production is enhanced; more is invested in infrastructure; incentives are provided for wheat producers; value-added products are promoted; and that import markets are diversified. While each of these measures is vital for the wheat sector’s development, designing a long-term strategy in collaboration with every value chain actor is imperative. In addition, given that small-scale farming is prevalent in Georgia, it is crucial to focus on increasing wheat yields by adopting modern agricultural practices.