On October 22, 2019, Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, while being on air at TV Obiektivi program Night Studio, stated that Georgian export depends on Turkey and that high-quality Georgian tomatoes and potatoes are sold in Turkey, while a lower quality product is imported to Georgia in exchange.
Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: “We have somehow attached ourselves to Turkish economy, which is very bad. I have always mentioned that it would be better if we detached ourselves from their economy, as money flows out from Georgia and we only get terrible quality product in exchange, which then competes with the local high-quality product. Do you know what is interesting? The Turks are importing potatoes and tomatoes from Georgia and they export the same product, but of worse quality, to Georgia. This should not be happening and if we stop doing that and through this action, support Georgian farmers, it will be the best outcome.”
Tarkhan Mouravi’s claim that Turkey imports high-quality potatoes and tomatoes from Georgia is disinformation. First, Turkey is only the sixth largest export partner for Georgia, and second – Georgia does not export tomatoes and potatoes to Turkey at all.
- Potatoes and tomatoes are not exported to Turkey
According to National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat) figures, 75.4% of export to Turkey falls on ten largest product groups, which do not include agricultural products at all. The top ten is as follows:
- Shirts, warm clothing (17.5% of export);
- Ferroalloys (14%);
- Carbon steel prepack (9.7%);
- Copper ore and concentrates (8%);
- Electricity (6%);
- Men’s suits, kits (4.7%);
- Fishmeal (4.1%);
- Cyanides, oxide-cyanides (3.4%);
- Ferrous metal remains and scrap-metal (3.1%);
- Fish oils (3%);
- Non-processed lead (2%).
- Turkey is on the sixth place in Georgia’s export destinations
According to January-March 2019 data by Geostat, the top three export destinations for Georgia are Russia, Azerbaijan, and Bulgaria. Turkey is on the sixth place.
- Where do the tomatoes and potatoes go or come from in fact?
According to Geostat, in 2017, tomato export comprised USD 4.1 million and the main export destinations for the product were Russia (83%) and Ukraine (9%, with the previous year’s export being insignificantly low).
The list of export destinations is different in case of potatoes. In January-September 2017, potatoes worth USD 5.2 million were exported from Georgia to three neighbor countries – Azerbaijan (97%), Russia (2%), and Armenia (1%).
In 2018, Georgia purchased tomatoes worth USD 8.2 million, and the product was imported solely from Turkey.
Prepared by Mariam Dangadze
Myth Detector Lab