Food supply systems are crucial to the economies of most developing countries, supplying the largest share of food production, and constituting livelihoods and a key source of income for the majority of the population (FAO, 2020). It is therefore vital to maintain the steady flow of goods and services required from local and international food supply chains to ensure the health of the population, and to protect their incomes and livelihoods.
The lockdowns and trade restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in shortages of some major food commodities on international and local markets. In this policy brief, we discuss and analyze Georgia's response to the crisis in terms of food security and agricultural policy. Furthermore, we provide recommendations to ensure fewer disruptions in food supply chains and low volatility in food prices.
The recovery of the Consumer Confidence Index, observed from May to July, has been losing steam in September and the November survey confirms that consumer confidence is struggling to go back to prior pandemic levels.
When the Georgian unemployment statistics for Quarter 2 (April, May, June) of 2020 came out, no one was surprised to see that the national unemployment rate, which had been falling steadily over the previous quarters, and even years, suddenly increased by 0.9 percentage points relative to the same quarter of 2019 (more precisely from 11.4% in Q2 2019 to 12.3% in Q2 2020). Perhaps we were more surprised by the fact that the unemployment rate did not go up more drastically in the midst of a strict lockdown, various travel restrictions, and quarantine measures.
Many of us well-remember the cold winter of 2006 when the Russian Federation cut its natural gas supply to Georgia. In general, it is clear that diversification in energy import markets reduces the risk of socio-economic shocks following political tensions with other countries. Fortunately, Georgia managed to find an alternative to the Russian supply and started importing gas from Azerbaijan. This blog will review the current gas import situation and discuss the expected trends in natural gas supply security.