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Georgia faces dwindling wheat stocks as world shortage looms

10 June 20222 min reading

Georgia is facing a shortage of wheat in the country, just as the world is bracing for higher prices and precarious supplies of the staple as a result of the war in Ukraine. Georgian flour mills first started raising alarms about the trend in September. Now they warn that 67 of the country’s 70 flour mills have halted production.        

The Georgian government has sought to allay fears about the shortage, saying it has ample reserves of flour and that the local harvest of wheat is approaching in a matter of months. But many don’t share that optimism, noting that flour spoils much more quickly than does wheat, leaving the bread-loving country potentially vulnerable at a difficult time.

While global wheat shortfalls loom as a result of the war in Ukraine – pitting two of the world’s largest producers of the grain – Georgia’s shortage in fact dates back to before the war. Georgia began replacing wheat imports with flour last year for reasons of price. In 2021, Russia – which represents about 94 percent of Georgia’s imports of wheat – introduced quotas on its wheat exports, as well as taxes tied to price fluctuations, in order to protect supplies and stabilize prices during the pandemic. 

Georgian flour mills first started raising alarms about the trend in September. Now they warn that 67 of the country’s 70 flour mills have halted production as they’ve run out of supplies and there are no orders for future supplies. “Importing wheat has made no sense for months since flour has zero import taxes,” while the current tax on Russian wheat amounts to about $120 a metric ton, Levan Silagava, Head of Georgia’s Association of Wheat and Flour Producers, told Interpressnews media on May 13. “That makes a huge difference,” he said. 


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