of subsidy for citrus. In 2013, we allocated GEL 13 million 800 thousand for this purpose [...] The latest data shows that 60 tons of citrus have been exported.”FactCheck
checked the accuracy of the facts indicated in the statement of the Prime Minister.
In line with the information of the Ministry of Agriculture the volume of the citrus harvest surpassed 100 thousand tons in 2013. Owing to the bad weather certain impediments were encountered in the process of the harvesting and exporting of particular citruses (tangerines).The export of citrus was resumed in the second half of the month of December 2013.Pursuant to the ordinance N2174 issued by the Government of Georgia on 26 December 2013, On the Provision of Funds from the Reserve Fund of the Georgian Government to the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, a total of GEL 12 million was allocated to the Autonomous Republic of Ajara for the subsidisation of the citrus industry. In accordance with the said ordinance, farmers received an additional 15 tetri
for every kilogram of exported standard citrus. In order to receive a subsidy, the farmer is to present the relevant documentation to the local self-government; namely, the act of receipt and delivery (signed by the farmer, the buyer of the citrus and the representative of the corresponding local self-government body) and the customs declaration verifying the export of products. The distribution of funds in the framework of the subsidisation is being carried out from 6 December 2013 to 1 March 2014 on the basis of the abovementioned documents.
In line with the public information requested from the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, a total of GEL 13 million 80 thousand has been administered for the subsidisation of citrus in 2013 (as noted by the Prime Minister in the aforementioned statement) of which GEL 1.8 million was allocated for the subsidisation of non-standard citrus.
In his statement Irakli Gharibashvili also notes that according to the latest data, 60 tons of citrus have been exported from Georgia. The letter received from the Ministry of Agriculture informs that from September to December2013 the volume of export of tangerines totalled 39.643 tons while as of 12 January of the current year, the export amounted to 42.805 tons.
In agreement with the data provided by GeoStat, 33.24 tons of citruses were exported in 2013 from September to December.
Ostensibly, the given figures contradict the data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. It is to be noted that the information of GeoStat is based upon the statistical data recorded by customs.
We spoke with the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Davit Natroshvili, on this matter. As clarified by the Deputy Minister: “Pursuant to the customs legislation, officially, goods with the value below GEL 15 thousand are not recorded. Accordingly, official records do not include the freight of tangerines (transported by trailers) which are worth no more than GEL 15 thousand. However, we request from customs the information on those freightshipments as well. As of 15 January, up to 60 thousand tons of citrus were exported.”
Adjusted data on the volume of exported citrus is published by the Ministry of Agriculture by the end of March which marks the closure of the citrus season.
It is noteworthy that according to the data of GeoStat, the export of citrus has seen a remarkable growth relative to the same period of the last year. The table shown below presents the volume of citrus exported in the years 2007-2013 over the period September-December (in tons).
In agreement with the data presented by GeoStat, during September-December 2013,the average market price of tangerines per one kilogram amounted to GEL 1.44 in Georgia. The table below depicts data on the average market price (in GEL) of tangerines in Georgia per unit (one kilogram) throughout the years 2007-2013.The public information received from the Ministry of Agriculture confirms that no subsidies were provided for the citrus industry over the years 2007-2011. However, it is worth noting that the circumstances witnessed in those years posed no need for subsidies. As clarified by the Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, Shalva Pipia: “The harvest of 2013 was very large. In the last year, the realisation price for tangerines was at 50-60tetri while this year, due to the increased volume of harvested citrus, the price dropped to 45 tetri.
Therefore, we reached the decision to give subsidies to those entrepreneurs.”
Conclusion In 2013 the Georgian Government earmarked GEL 12 million from the Government Reserve Fund for the subsidisation of standard citrus which means an additional 15 tetri
for farmers on every kilogram of exported standard citrus fruit. GEL 1.8 million is foreseen for the subsidisation of non-standard citrus. Therefore, a total of GEL 13.8 million has been provided for the subsidisation of citrus, as also noted by the Prime Minister.Although no subsidy was allotted to citrus in 2007-2011, the need for such seems less apparent. The realisation price equalled 50-60 tetri in 2012 while in 2013 the price dropped to 45 tetri and, as a result, as clarified by the Minister of Agriculture, a decision was reached to provide government subsidies. The abovementioned fact is overlooked in the PM’s statement. Consequently, the PM’s pathos stressing that not a single tetri
had been provided in citrus subsidies in previous years is fairly exaggerated.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the export of citrus amounted to 39,643 tons in the period between September and December of 2013. A total of 42,805 tons of tangerines were exported in all 12 months of 2013. Pursuant to the data presented by the National Statistics Office of Georgia, citrus export amounted to 33,240 tons between September and December of 2013. In this regard, the data of the Ministry of Agriculture and GeoStat are diverging. The Ministry of Agriculture also reports that as of 15 January, up to 60 thousand tons of citrus were exported.Therefore, at this stage the Prime Minister’s statement (60 thousand tons of citrus were exported) is confirmed only by the non-official (preliminary) data of the Ministry of Agriculture. As the statistical data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture differs (significantly exceeds) from the data of GeoStat, FactCheck
will return to this subject after verified data on citrus export is published.FactCheck concludes that Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement,“Throughout the years 2007-2011, the previous government did not issue a single tetri of subsidy for citrus. In 2013, we allocated GEL 13 million 800 thousand for this purpose [...] The latest data shows that 60 tons of citrus have been exported,”is MOSTLY TRUE.