“These modern technologies require another knowledge, another approach. Older people interact with digital technologies a little less.
There are several directions where newcomers have become more or less interested, it is mainly related to winemaking,it has become a trend and they show more interest in winemaking.
In relation to other culturues, this is still less visible,” said Gela Samkharauli at the meeting of the Agrarian issues Committee.
According to Samkharauli, after the Georgian Dream coming into power, the progress in agriculture is visible, although the sector does not have enough specialists: “Our farmers, peasants work very hard, but unfortunately, their work doesn’t have the result it could have with knowledge and modern technologies approach. It is possible to get much more results with the same work. We lack specialists in all directions. This issue should be taken up by the government and specific agencies, so that with certain programs and incentives we can fill this deficit.”
The Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture Giorgi Khanishvili was also present at the meeting of the committee, who said that “in agriculture today, we have the biggest deficit, not money, not knowledge, but physical workforce.
Such a reality has come, it was a bit unexpected, but in fact it is so. In a country where the percentage of unemployment is statistically quite high, agriculture has the biggest shortage of manpower.”
According to the deputy minister, the Ministry is creating a large-scale program for the development of animal husbandry, the important components of which are the increase of knowledge and the use of modern technologies.
“If we were only backward compared to the Netherlands, we would be able to withstand it. we have other problems. In the species where state programs are implemented, for example, if we had an average apple yield of 3-4 tons, we would be 9 times, 10 times or more behind then France. Today we have apple orchards that yield no less than France - 30, 40, we have reached 50 tons and soon we will have gardens with a yield of 70-100 tons. We were able to introduce a lot of crops, for example, blueberry, which is currently planted on 2,200 hectares and was not at all. The same nuts - almonds, pistachios, etc., are on almost 6000 hectares along with walnuts. All this is already reflected on the Georgian economy and export indicators. Of course, there is much more that is desirable and possible. When everything is broken and damaged, it is difficult to put it back together. When we long for a tractor, it is difficult to think about high technologies, but from the point of view of viticulture, we already see that a lot of such equipment is introduced in the vineyards, which simplifies manual labor and at the same time reduces the demand for manual labor to a certain extent”, said Giorgi Khanishvili.
Chair of Agrarian issues Committee, Nino Tsilosani, introduced the study prepared by the international organization (UNDP) to the members of the committee. As part of the research, 30 farmers who started their activities after 2016 with the support of state programs in the walnut and berry sectors were interviewed. Only 30% of respondents say that the obtained harvest matches the initial calculations. The remaining 70% report that the yield per hectare falls short of their expectations and financial calculations. The most common reason for failure is the lack of agronomic knowledge in the country, both in planning and in the process of managing orchards.
Along with the lack of modern approaches and knowledge, one of the major challenges for those involved in agriculture is that the sector suffers from a lack of technology. In the production process, Georgian farmers hardly use or rarely use such necessary technologies as: weather stations, sensors, programs and other devices that allow them to easily get information, which would save natural, human and financial resources.
“If there are no technologies and innovative approaches, it will certainly be difficult for us to get young people interested in agriculture, the traditional agriculture that may be practiced in 90% now. Therefore, the emergence of technologies and innovations also implies the employment of young people in regions and villages, which are in a rather difficult demographic context. Regions are more or less being emptied in favor of big cities, young people are leaving their places of residence to find more profitable jobs, however, if we introduce high-tech, innovative approaches in agriculture, it may become an area of special interest for them,” said Tsilosani.