Consumption of frozen imported meat is growing in Georgia. According to meat producers, the market is experiencing a shortage of live meat while its high cost forces catering facilities and processing companies to purchase imported products.
According to the director of the company "New Meat" Temur Khurtsilava, the deficit on the market has been observed since last year, and in August meat has once again risen in price.
"As a rule, there is a lot of meat in the market in August-November, but not this year. One of the reasons for this is the growth in meat exports, mainly live meat, which importers buy at a higher price. Export mainly goes to Arab countries, "he says.
He explains when the rise in price began, restaurants almost completely abandoned local products and switched to imports.
"Their motivation is quite clear - if they increase prices in proportion to the rise in price of local meat, they will lose customers. There is very high competition in the restaurant business, so everyone is trying to keep prices, "Khurtsilava notes.
In his words, small producers are in a particularly difficult situation as they cannot sell products because of rising prices.
"We wanted to start a farm, but decided at this stage to abandon this idea – as it is unprofitable because in 2-3 months the animal can’t grow to the level when it makes sense to bludgeon the cattle. This can be achieved with the help of chemicals, but they harm the health of consumers, "he says.
Khurtsilava believes that neither the state nor anyone else has any opportunity to settle the current situation, and only the market can do it.
In the words of Director of the company "Ukhvi" Nodar Kavelashvili, the reason for the deficit is the growth in exports of Georgian meat.
"Now the situation has improved slightly, as in autumn meat supplies increase. But in the winter there will be a deficit again, and meat will rise in price by GEL 2-3 per kilogram". In order the industry to develop, strong competition is needed, Kavelashvili says.
According to the National Food Service, large cattle from Georgia are exported to Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
Cattle in the amount of $ 584,400 were exported in 2008, in 2016 - $ 36.8 million.
Growth in exports was the main reason for the deficit in Georgia. In addition, in parallel with the growth in exports a reduction in production was recorded - if in 2015 the production amounted to 62,000 tons, in 2016 - already 52,000.