Georgia for Grab
16 August, 2012
Georgia for Grab

 

Agriculture land, acquisition in Georgia became available to non-residents due to liberal changes in the law on agriculture lands, introduced this summer. Georgian experts worry this super-liberal approach is equal to high treason as it puts the entire country for grab and lays ground to demographic expansion of other ethnicities in Georgia at the expense of infringing the rights of local people.

 

“Amendment to the law on Agriculture Lands Ownership admitting land divesture to foreign citizens equals to divesture of Georgia

and is a crime against the indigenous nation,” Paata Koguashvili, a former MP and  agriculture expert, said. “Constitutional Court of Georgia is the body that committed this crime on June 27, 2012 when settled the case of Hayek Kronkkwist [citizen of Denmark] against Georgian parliament [disputing land ownership right]  in favor to Danish citizen.”

The Constitutional Court acknowledged paragraphs in the law on Agriculture Land Ownership restricting and prohibiting land ownership rights to non-residents in Georgia as non-constitutional. Justification for the amendment was super-liberal: the questioned restrictions violated human rights that are equal to all irrespective citizenship.

Meantime the removed paragraphs granting ownership rights on agriculture lands to Georgian citizens as well as legal entities registered in Georgia were much milder than similar regulations in developed world prohibiting divesture of lands to non-resident legal entities, Koguashvili assures.

“There was no restriction in fact. The late Primer Zurab Zhvania initiated the change to allow non-resident legal entities to buy land in ownership in 1996 when he was a Speaker at parliament while the western law absolutely prohibits land divesture to legal entities. It has been kept in similar spirit since then. In 2007 Georgian parliament mandated the President to divest lands to foreigners at his own discretion by putting a signature. And the Constitutional Court crowned the anti-national move now,” Koguashvili said in the interview with Georgian Journal.

Nobody can say how much of Georgian lands are already sold to foreigners for lands registration/cadastre is not implemented since 2004 when authority revoked management department. The UN special service warned Georgian government to restore the service but to no avail. Now only privatized lands are registered and out of 3 million 25 thousand hectares (ha) of agriculture land fund [based on old statistics] only 850 thousand of privatized lands are registered according to official statistics.  About 30-40 thousand ha is already divested on foreigners without any clear reasoning and much more is in store apparently due to the recent change leaving the country vulnerable to demographic expansion risks. Georgian authorities have already successfully practiced expropriation of lands in tourist zones through infringing rights of local people. The seized lands are eventually divested to foreign investors. But experts say lands-sale alone is no investment but deprivation of local population of their living source.

Koguashvili assures such pseudo-liberal land disposal may ultimately transmit Georgian people into minority in their own country.

However the hazardous decision came in force without much noise overlapped by the ongoing rampant pre-election campaign buzz and fuss. Authorities chose a right moment to slip the most dangerous changes off the public sight.

“This hazardous process is going on relatively noiseless but by essence it equals to loss of national identity, it befits to Georgian society to react as soon as possible because the process can be catastrophic and irretrievable soon,” Koguashvili elaborates. “Maybe at the moment the jeopardy of making Georgian historical ethnographic population into minority seems not clear but it will be inevitable after a sufficient basis for demographic expansion is created. I mean settlement of several hundred people of other ethnicity on Georgian lands would be quite a ground for that. Therefore it is inacceptable to make Georgian peasantry torn from lands and be not the owner and key producer of product here.”

Nobody sells agriculture lands globe over even the most liberal countries. Small lands-deficient countries [to which classification Georgia belongs too] do not allow acquisition of even urban lands.

”Let’s take Israel. You cannot buy a single meter of land there, you can buy a house but not the land spot where the dwelling house or whatever building stands on,” Ditrikh Muller, a legal expert and co-founder of Georgian Investments Group, said. “Admitting divesture of agriculture lands in Georgia is a high treasure, it undermines Georgian national spirit. Georgia means a land-worker nation in Greek and once deprived of land it will lose its identification and self-respect. The authors of this initiative can go to Mtastminda pantheon [Holy Mountain sacred pantheon where the bright minds of Georgia are buried] and spit on the grave of Ilia Chavchavadze, the father of the nation who created a bank of noblemen of Georgia in 19th century to spare lands from divesture. And now behold, lands are for grab.”

According to Koguashvili, in developed world the state handles very carefully with agriculture lands, has a special strategy and diligently researches each divesture case even to its own citizens. The EU theoretically allows its member-state citizens to purchase lands within the EU space but practically it is almost impossible for multiple preferences [for locals] and requirements. The newly joined EU member-states announced a 10-15-year moratorium and suspended divesture of lands on non-residents completely.

The US admits lands divesture to foreign citizens but each case is discussed by the US Agriculture Ministry and solved on the state level. The more agriculture-oriented the state is the stronger restrictions and prohibitions it puts out on land divesture like future proprietors education skills in agriculture, living experience in rural area, capital resources etc. As a result only 0.7% of agriculture lands are owned by foreign citizens.

Sector pundits believe the super-liberal approach of Georgia in land issue must be cut out too in line with the best world practice. As far as nobody can revoke the constitutional court decision,  Koguashvili believes the only way-out is change of existing power when a new parliament will approve new land law and disposal strategy.

 

Print
Other Stories
The World Digital Mining Summit to be held in Georgia
The summit is scheduled to take place between 21st-23rd September in the Hualing Hotel, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Galt and Taggart - Tourism Boom Continues in Georgia
Tourism has become one of the key drivers for the Georgian economy. Galt and Taggart has recently published research about the Georgian tourism sector in the first half of 2018.
"The worst dream for Putin is that Russians want to live in Georgia"
This year, visitors to the Adjara region would notice that there is a boom in construction in and around Batumi.
Underground gas storage facility to be built in Georgia
KfW, a German government-owned development bank signed a EUR 150 million promotional loan with the state-owned Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) for the construction of the first underground gas storage facility in Georgia.
New gambling rules for Georgia
Georgian lawmakers are preparing a new draft law relating to online-casinos and gambling that will seek to curb gambling addiction in Georgia.
How expensive is it to visit Georgia?
The Georgian Lari (GEL) is the official currency of Georgia and is the only legal means of payment in the entire territory of Georgia.
Trade with the EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has grown significantly
Trade with the EU and the CIS has grown by 26% and 33.5 % respectively, says GeoStat, the Georgian National Statistics Office.
The unemployment rate decreases in Georgia
The unemployment rate decreased in Georgia by 1,9% and amounted to 12.1% in the 2nd quarter of 2018 compared with the previous quarter,
Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between Georgia and Malaysia
According to the Georgian Ambassador to Malaysia Nikoloz Apkhazava, Georgia plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia.
“Blauenstein Georgia” due to expand in Georgia
“Blauenstein Georgia” is planning to open more shops in Georgia. It is an agriculture company that sells meat products, meat and convenience food.
The amount of Direct Foreign Investment rises in Georgia
According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of direct foreign investment in Georgia has risen
It’s going to get  harder for foreigners to get residence permit in Georgia
It’s going to get harder for foreigners to get permit of residence in Georgia.
Mziuri Park in Tbilisi to be renovated soon
It was the dream of prominent Georgian writer Nodar Dumbadze that when the original Mziuri park was constructed and opened in 1892 that it should be a park for children,
Winemakers to produce Kvanchkara in its place of origin - Racha
Khvanchakara is a semi-sweet Georgian red wine which originates from Racha, in the western part of Georgia. Kvanchkara is made of two types of grape Mujuretuli and Aleksandrouli.
The level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported has increased
The National Wine Agency of Georgia has recently published statistical information about the level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported between January and July, 2018.
New fire engines to be Manufactured in Georgia
The Acting Head of the Emergency Management Agency Shalva Khutsishvili said that the old Zili fire engines (which were made in the USSR) will be phased out and replaced with new ones, manufactured in Georgia.
Georgia witnesses a record number of tourists
The Georgian National Tourism Administration publishes statistical information about international visits to Georgia.
Canadian businessman plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro
Canadian businessman Vadim Malishev plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro resort, Guria, in the western part of Georgia.
Coffee Factory will open in Tbilisi in October
The first coffee factory (which will be located on the Kakheti highway) in Tbilisi will open in October.
Places in Georgia where real estate is the most expensive
The real estate market in Georgia is growing annually. In Tbilisi as well as other regions of Georgia new developments are increasingly taking place.
How much does a vacation cost in Tbilisi?
It is the middle of summer and those who have not yet taken a vacation are looking for an appropriate place for sure!
The price for extreme sports in Georgia
Georgia offers a variety of options to extreme sport lovers.
The number of Georgians who own property abroad increases
The number of foreign properties owned by Georgians is increasing.
How much does Taxi cost in Tbilisi?
Stories how Taxi drivers try to deceive passengers and charge them with more money than they should pay are known for everybody all over the world.
What are the highest paid areas in Georgia
According to the data collected by the National Statistics Office of Georgia in the first quarter of 2018 the highest paid jobs in Georgia are found in the financial and insurance fields.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
25.09.2018
26.09.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6226
2.6226
EUR
1
EUR
3.0868
3.0868
GBP
1
GBP
3.4416
3.4416
RUB
100
RUB
3.9814
3.9814
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6226
EUR
1
EUR
3.0868
GBP
1
GBP
3.4416
RUB
100
RUB
3.9814