Georgia: is a country in the landscape of the Caucasus Mountains, where Europe and Asia meet. Georgia is the second oldest Christian country in the world and has a wealth of cultural and historical relics from the early years of Christianity.
Official language: Georgia
Currency: Lari ( Currency exchange is possible at the destination.)
Passport and visa: A Finnish citizen needs a passport as a travel document, which must be valid for another six months after the trip. A Finnish citizen does not need a visa to Georgia.
Time difference to Finland: +2
Summer time: +1
Agriculture is still Georgia’s most important industry. It accounts for about a fifth of exports and employs almost half of all residents. Agricultural production has declined steadily since the 1990s and agriculture’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) has decreased from 33 percent in 1996 to just 7 percent in 2017.
- CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Georgia. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.
The World Bank and the OECD calculate that agriculture and forestry and fisheries together accounted for 6.9 percent of Georgia’s GDP in 2017.
Some parts of the production are going very well, Wine has been produced in Georgia for 8,000 years, and the vineyard is considered to have good prospects for the future. In 2018, 62 percent of Georgian wine exports went to Russia, which had increased its imports for several years in a row.
In the coastal areas fruits, vegetables, tea and tobacco are grown. Wheat is also grown, but the limited availability of arable land means that the country must import a large part of the grain and other food consumed by the population.
During the Soviet era, most of the agricultural land was owned by large agricultural collectives. After 1992 extensive land privatization began, but most of the private plots are small and farmers find it difficult to obtain loans to pay for modern machinery and other equipment. Almost no foreign investors are also interested in investing in Georgian agriculture. Most of the small farmers only grow for their own use. The pesticides and fertilizers that are available are expensive and often of poor quality, which limits the potential for larger harvests.
Fishing is not a significant industry. Fewer than 1,000 Georgians are fishing.
In 2018, 42 percent of Georgians were active in agriculture, according to the ILO.
FACTS – AGRICULTURE
Agriculture’s share of GDP
6.7 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
34.5 percent (2016)
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of GEO stands for the state of Georgia in geography.
New president marks Russia
Salome Zurabishvili takes over as president. In her installation speech, she criticizes Russia for its decision to recognize Georgian outbreak republics as independent states. Screensavers occur when police prevent a car column with her political opponents from reaching the city of Telavi where the ceremony takes place.
Protests against the presidential election
About 25,000 people are demonstrating in Tbilisi against the presidential election. Newly elected Salomé Zurabishvili’s main opponent Grigol Vasjadze, who refuses to accept the result, is leading the protests. The protesters claim that there were electoral fraud and demand fresh elections to Parliament. The disputed former president Micheil Saakashvili, who led the “rose revolution” in 2003 but now lives in exile in the Netherlands, speaks to the meeting via video link.
Georgia gets female president
Salome Zurabishvili wins the second and decisive round of the presidential election with 59 percent of the vote against Grigol Vasjadze’s 40 percent. She becomes the country’s first female president.
Even in the first round of the presidential election
Salomé Zurabishvili, who is running as an independent candidate but supported by the Georgian dream of the ruling party, gets 39 percent of the vote in the presidential election. Opposition leader Grigol Vasjadze is second with 38 percent. A crucial round of elections is required. Zurabishvili was born in France, with Georgian parents, has been French ambassador to Tbilisi and later Georgian Foreign Minister. Vasjadze also has merit as Foreign Minister, and before independence he was one of the Soviet Union’s disarmament negotiators. Both presidential candidates aim for full membership in NATO and the EU for Georgia. In the larger cities, Vasjadze receives the most votes.
NATO forces are practicing in Georgia
Ten years after Georgia’s war against Russia, a major exercise within the NATO military alliance takes place in Georgia. More than 3,000 soldiers from 13 countries participate in two weeks of training, including outside the capital Tbilisi. Georgia, formerly a Republic of the Soviet Union, upset Russia with its application for NATO membership. The tensions culminated in a war in which separatists in South Ossetia received support from Moscow. NATO, given the sensitivity of the issue, has not given Georgia full membership.
Mamuka Bakhtadze becomes new prime minister
Former Finance Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze is elected by Parliament as new Prime Minister after Giorgi Kvirika Kashvili. However, Bakhtadze’s government is temporary as he plans to present a new government shortly where three of the ministerial posts have been removed. This will enable the government to become more efficient and reduce administrative costs, he says.
Prime Minister Kvirika Kashvili resigns
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirika Kashvili announces his resignation following mass protests earlier this month. In a televised speech, Kvirika Kashvili refers to disagreement with the chairman of the ruling party Georgian Dream, the former prime minister and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. Georgian’s dream now has seven days to appoint his successor. Recently, dissatisfaction with the government has increased, not least its way of managing the economy, but the criticism has been more extensive than that. On June 1, thousands of Georgians demonstrated against political involvement in a murder trial, demanding the departure of Kvirikaashvili and Minister of the Interior Giorgi Gakharia. Shortly thereafter, large parts of Tblisi were paralyzed in connection with a strike in the subway.
Criticism against criminal investigation traps RA
State Prosecutor Irakli Sjotadze resigns after demonstrations against how a criminal investigation was handled. Last year, two teenage boys lost their lives in a fight in the capital, Tbilisi. The father of one of the parties involved has served with the prosecutor. Since the charge against the son was alleviated, the protesters have claimed that the investigation was affected by interference from the political side. The protesters have also demanded the resignation of the government. The answer has been that a new investigation should examine how the two teenagers died.
Separatists receive Syrian support
The Syrian government recognizes the Russian-backed outbreak republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Georgia, from which they broke away, in protest breaks the diplomatic relations with the government of Damascus.
Georgia’s former President Micheil Saakashvili is deported from Ukraine to Poland. After a political career as governor of Odessa, as contentious as his presidency in his home country, he is disgusted with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and has tried to take on a role of opposition leader. Now he is stateless because both Georgia and Ukraine deprived him of citizenship. He is deported to Poland because it was from there that he last entered Ukraine, but later moves on to the Netherlands where his wife and children are citizens.
Better times for the tourism industry
The number of tourists from abroad is growing. In January, almost 15 percent came more than the same month last year, says the head of the country’s tourism authority for the English-speaking Georgian Journal. Full-year figures for 2017 were even better: + 18.8 percent, with 1.2 million more international visitors than the year before. Most come from neighboring countries, but the tourist stream is growing not least from EU countries.
885 Georgians in Afghanistan
Georgian soldiers participating in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan receive a significant portion of their education in Germany, notes Georgian media in connection with sending hundreds of soldiers to a base in Mazar-i-Sharif to relieve compatriots. NATO’s country of partnership Georgia, with 885 soldiers in Afghanistan, is said to be the non-member country responsible for the largest personnel force. More Georgians are serving within the RSM, which was created to train and support Afghan government forces, than within the previous Isaf effort.
Georgians are seeking asylum in the EU
The number of Georgian citizens seeking asylum in EU countries has increased steeply since Georgians in March were allowed to enter without a visa in Schengen countries. During the last quarter of 2017, 400 Georgians applied for asylum in Sweden, a doubling compared to the same period in 2016, Sweden’s Radio reports. According to the Swedish Migration Board, the trend is the same in Germany and Switzerland.
Saakashvili is sentenced to prison in his absence
Former President Micheil Saakashvili is sentenced in his absence to three years in prison for abuse of power. He is sentenced to have pardoned four men convicted of murdering a banker in violation of the law in 2006. Saakashvili, who is now politically active in Ukraine, has said that the legal process against him is politically motivated and has questioned the court’s independence.