2014 citrus harvest: Less fruit but better quality, says Minister

Georgia expected 80,000 tonnes of citrus fruit will be harvested this year.
Agenda.ge, 18 Nov 2014 - 13:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s annual citrus harvest is underway but experts believe this year’s yield will be down on last year’s crop but will be of a higher quality.

The typical citrus season runs from November to January and in this time, it is expected 80,000 tonnes of citrus fruit will be harvested. This season’s crop lower than last year’s 110,000 tonne harvest, which was a 20 year high.

Georgia’s Agriculture Ministry Otar Danelia believed the citrus harvest would not be high but the quality of the fruit would be higher in comparison to the 2013 yield. Due to due to weather problems last year, nearly 25 percent of the citrus was damaged.

"The proper care and maintenance provided to the citrus trees was one of the main contributing factors behind the high quality 2014 citrus harvest. I believe that will support Georgia’s citrus exports,” Danelia said.

Meanwhile the Government of Georgia was continuing to subsidise the cost of mandarins as a way to support fruit growers and processing companies.

The Ministry of Agriculture announced mandarin processing companies would reap the benefits of a 2 million GEL state subsidy and be offered a subsidy of 0.10 GEL per kilogram of lower quality mandarins.

This aimed to encourage companies to purchase more mandarins. The subsidy program will be issued to fruit processing companies who pay 0.20 GEL or more per kilogram of citrus which were deemed lower quality as they were bruised, misshapen or had other imperfections.

The Adjara region, which was the main citrus fruit producer in Georgia, expected to harvest 80 percent of the country’s total citrus fruit harvest. Citrus fruit was grown in three other regions in western Georgia – Guria, Imereti and Samegrelo. Pomegranate, lemon and orange are the main citrus fruits that are produced in Georgia.

Citrus plantations in Georgia span 3,000 hectares in total, the Ministry of Agriculture said. Apart from in these plantations, citrus fruits were found in abundance in residential areas and private properties.