Georgian PM tasks agriculture minister to solve issues in hazelnut sector

The stinkbug and fungal diseases have affected Georgia’s hazelnut export.Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 11 Feb 2019 - 13:51, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has tasked Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili today with solving the country’s stink bug problem and issues with agricultural funguses; two of the major challenges facing the Georgian hazelnut sector.

Bakhtadze said that 2019 should be “distinguished” in the fight against the bug.

We had success regarding the fight against the pest last year. This year none of the farmers or families must be left without information about the methods of fighting against the stink bug and the government programme against the problem, Bakhtadze said.

Bakhtadze said that the programme will allow farmers to carry out agricultural activities against the bug and the fungal diseases to produce quality hazelnuts and avoid economic loss.

The figures are of the Georgian Statistics Agency-Geostat. 

The government will purchase 2,000 modern spray machines and sprays against pests and hand them to the Georgian Hazelnut Production Association for the use. The association will also organise meetings with groups of farmers to inform them about the planned works and the government goals regarding the issue,” the government press office reported.

The government program also says that the farmers will receive SMS messages that will inform them about planned measures on a certain day.

Last year the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) offered $3.5 million to Georgia to help the country combat the stink bug infestation problem.

USAID gifted over 17 tractors to the Georgian National Food Agency in Abasha, in Georgia’s Samegrelo region in 2018 for the same reason.

The brown marmorated stink bug, which damages crops, is widespread in Georgia and a real nuisance to Georgian farmers.

The pest was first reported in Georgia in 2015.

In 2016, the bugs destroyed a significant portion of the hazelnut harvest in western Georgia. 2017 was even more devastating and struck a wider area.