Foreign Ownership of Georgian Farmland; Amendments to the Existing Ban

On February 7 2014, the Georgian parliament read a draft amendment to the current ban on foreign entities, and foreign-invested companies, from purchasing  farmland in Georgia. The current ban has been in place since June 2013, and has effectively brought new foreign investment in Georgian agribusiness to a halt.

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One aspect of the amendment is to exempt banks from the ban, which is a welcome relief; most banks in Georgia have foreign shareholdings and so mortgage business had become a perplexing issue for them. Hopefully this will apply also to banks domiciled outside Georgia, and local microfinance lenders, to provide a competitive environment in the farm finance sector.

In place of the blanket ban on land purchase by foreign-invested entities, the draft proposes that a government-appointed panel consider all potential acquisitions of land by foreign-invested entities. The criteria for approval, and the processing time, and appeals process, are not yet clear.

This is a move in the right direction, but it is to be hoped that any approvals process will be prompt, transparent, and take into consideration the huge contribution that foreign investment in the Georgian countryside can make to poverty alleviation, food security, human resource development and Georgia’s balance of trade.

 

 

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Target 100 Media Programme

A very well produced series of interviews with Australian graziers, discussing their lives and their environmental and welfare programmes. Well worth watching each of them, they are a credit to the industry.

China Now the World’s Largest Consumer of Red Wine

A concise article with some interesting links, China produces 80% of the red wine it consumes, and China vineyard expansion seems to be more or less keeping pace with increase in consumption. Still some extraordinary opportunities in this market for exporters.

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The world’s biggest red wine drinking country isn’t France, Italy, or the US. According to a report released by Vinexpo and International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR), China now guzzles 1.9 billion bottles a year—more red wine than any other nation on the planet.

As recently as in 2008, the Chinese were only the world’s sixth-largest drinkers of red wine, but they have since jumped to the number one spot, passing France—now the world’s second-largest consumer—Italy, the US, Germany, and Argentina. China’s red wine intake surged by 146% between 2008 and 2012, while leading European drinkers scaled back their imbibing of red wine, as you can see in the chart on the left.

Part of China’s growing appetite for red wine is the country’s taste for certain French varietals. China is, for example, the world’s leading importer of Bordeaux. And French now wine accounts for nearly 50% of Chinese wine imports.

But China is also simply producing more and more red wine—and drinking it, too. The country is on pace to eclipse France as the world’s largest producer. More than 80% of the red wine China consumes is made domestically (paywall).

via China now guzzles more red wine than any other country in the world – Quartz.