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On 15 May 2015 Anaklia hosted a forum on the development of hazelnut production where plans for the development of hazelnut culture were discussed. According to the information of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, hazelnut is the largest export good together with being the highest priority for Georgia. The Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, Otar Danelia, stated: "The export of hazelnut surpassed the export of wine last year. The export of hazelnut generated USD 183 million whilst the export of wine generated USD 180 million."

FactCheck

took interest in the indicators of Georgian hazelnut export and checked the accuracy of Otar Danelia’s statement.

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, hazelnut ranks in the top ten of Georgia’s export goods. In 2014, the income generated from the export of hazelnuts increased by 10% and reached USD 183.4 million. Additionally, the share of hazelnut rose within the total amount of exports. In 2013, hazelnut export comprised 5.7% of Georgia’s total exports whilst in 2014 the number rose to 6.4%.

In 2014, wine export grew by 40% and reached USD 180.7 million. The income generated from the export of hazelnut is USD 2.7 million more than that generated by the export of wine. However, according to the statistical data of the years 2006-2014, the export of wine surpassed the export of hazelnuts only once – in 2008.

Graph 1:

 Exports of Hazelnut and Wine in 2006-2014 (USD million)

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Even though the export of hazelnut increased in the previous year, the production of hazelnut decreased. In 2013, there were 39.7 thousand tonnes of hazelnut produced in Georgia whilst in 2014 the number dropped to 36.2 thousand tonnes.

Graph 2:

 Hazelnut Production in Georgia in 2006-2014 (thousand tonnes)

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FactCheck

took interest in the current data as well. In January-April 2015, hazelnut export grew by 145% and generated USD 62 million. In the same period of 2014, export income generated from the export of hazelnut was USD 25.2 million. In January-April 2015, the share of the export of hazelnut constituted 9% of Georgia’s total exports.

Conclusion

In 2014, the export of hazelnut grew by 10% and reached USD 183.4 million. Export income generated from the export of hazelnut surpassed the export income generated from the export of wine by USD 2.7 million. However, the statistical data of the previous years (2006-2014) illustrate that the export income from hazelnut was generally higher than that from wine. The only exception was in 2008 when the export of wine was greater than the export of hazelnut. The upward trend of growth of export of hazelnut continues in 2015 as well and in January-April of this year the export of hazelnut increased by 145%.

FactCheck concludes that Otar Danelia’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.