Environment Minister Otar Shamugia opens Blueberry Forum

Georgia: The Minister of Environment and Agriculture Otar Shamugia opened the Blueberry Forum, which the Ministry organized and supported by the Blueberry Producers Association of Georgia.

Representatives of the Agrarian Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, the Agency for Rural Development, the Chamber of Commerce, International Consultants, and Members of the Blueberry Producers Association of Georgia participated in the event.

Otar Shamugia said, “As a result of state support, blueberries will become an important source of income for our farmers.”

Otar Shamugia noted, “Blueberry production is one of the bright and successful examples of the Planted Future program through which we started to fund this culture.” 

The Minister said, “With the help of the state and the farmers, we were able to plant up to 2800 hectares of garden. Last year, we exported more than 20 million dollars. Just a few years ago, this index was equal to zero because we did not have blueberry production in the country. A completely new, non-traditional culture has come, which farmers have started to bring. It is essential that, with the arrival, we can store it with proper standards and then implement it in different markets.”

“One of the essential directions and challenges, of course, is market diversification. In this part, we also actively help farmers; with the promotion of the Rural Development Agency, our farmers and Georgian blueberries are represented at exhibitions held in different countries. It helps to establish proper contacts. With such support, blueberries will become an important source of income for our farmers,” Otar Shamugia said.

The Minister thanked the farmers participating in the forum, the Blueberry Producers Association, international experts, and the USAID for their active participation in field development.

“The Committee of Agrarian Affairs and the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture are actively involved in various events. It’s in meetings like these that we can highlight more needs. The matter of further discussion by the committee will be to take our agricultural activities and, in general, to promote the export of products to another level. In these initiatives, the committee will support the Ministry,” said Gela Samkharauli, the Committee of Agrarian Affairs chairman.

Within the forum’s framework, a panel discussion was held on the development of blueberries as a strategic field, support programs from the state, the importance of planting gardens in accordance with international standards, the role of the association in the blueberry industry, and challenges and perspectives. 

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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