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The Prime Minister of Georgia, during his visit to the National Wine Agency Centre of Georgia, spoke about the importance of Georgian wine and added: "I am particularly thankful to Bidzina Ivanishvili whose assistance was crucial for the preservation of more than 500 species of grapevines for future generations. Some seven-to-eight years ago, Mr Ivanishvili founded a nursery in Jighaura and invested tens of million dollars in it. With my extreme gratitude I emphasise that he has given the nursery to the state for free."

FactCheck

verified the accuracy of the statement voiced by the Prime Minister.

According to the information of the Director of the National Centre of Grapevines and Fruit Trees, Levan Ujmajuridze, the National Centre of Grapevines and Fruit Trees of the non-commercial non-profit legal entity Agro and Agro Cartu Ltd was founded in 2007 with the financial assistance of the Cartu Foundation. According to Mr Ujmajuridze, the nursery occupies 54 hectares in the village of Jighaura. It carries out the following tasks:  searching out, increasing and conserving endemic (types which usually grow in one particular area and are found nowhere else) types of grapevines and fruits, selecting new types and clones of engrafted plants, implementing modern technologies for the planting and care of rootstocks and phytosanitary monitoring of plants. He added that the nursery has 437 species of Georgian and 350 species of foreign grapevines together with 300 species of fruit trees including prunus trees and berry plants.

In February 2014, the former Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, gave the Jighaura Nursery (together with the Tsilkani Nursery and the Akhalkalaki Nursery) to the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia. The nurseries which belonged to Agro Cartu Ltd under the ownership of the former Prime Minister were consolidated into one legal entity of public law and given to the LEPL Scientific-Research Centre of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia. Jighaura Nursery research projects are now funded from the budget of the Scientific-Research Centre of Agriculture. According to the information of theHead of the Fruit and Grapevine Department of the Scientific-Research Centre of Agriculture, Zviad Bobokashvili, GEL 540,000 was given to the Jighaura Nursery in 2014 and GEL 633,000 in 2015, both for the purposes of scientific research.

The Jighaura Nursery periodically sells both its harvest and its plants. As the nursery belongs to the Scientific-Research Centre of Agriculture, the Service Agency of the Ministry of Finance is authorised

to manage its property. According to Mr Bobokashvili, the Service Agency of the Ministry of Finance annually sells GEL 400,000 worth of fruit, vegetables and plants. Information about the upcoming selling of fruit, vegetables and plants is published in advance on the website of the Service Agency. Everyone is able to purchase fruit and vegetables harvested at the Jighaura Nursery.

According to the information of the Ministry of Agriculture, the nursery boasts modern infrastructure and equipment. Additionally, information from Ministry representatives indicates that GEL 20 million worth of investments were made in the nursery before it was transferred under the ownership of the state.

Conclusion

The Jighaura Nursery was founded with the financial assistance of the Cartu Foundation in 2007. The nursery boasts 437 species of Georgian and 350 species of foreign grapevines. The former Prime Minister of Georgia gave the Jighaura Nursery to the state in 2014.

Considering all the aforementioned, Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement, "Bidzina Ivanishvili has given the Jigaura Nursery to the state for free," is TRUE.