Emergency Relief for Georgia Following Severe Drought in the Caucasus

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)
January 23, 2001

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organizing emergency assistance for Georgia. President Moshe Katzav is overseeing the transfer of the emergency provisions to Georgia, in the course of his visit there. President Katzav responded favorably to the Georgian government’s request for emergency assistance, following the severe drought which has hit the Caucasus region during the past year.

The appeal of the Georgian government has focused on the provision of seeds for farmers. Following the joint activity of the Foreign Ministry Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV) and the Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture, contacts have been made with the "Zera" and the "Zarei Gedera" plants. These companies have contributed vegetable seeds that will assist Georgian farmers in the coming growing season. In total, a contribution of 300 kilograms of quality seeds has been made, enabling local farmers to sow 3000 dunams of vegetables (the cost of 1 kg of seeds is about $4000). In addition, the Foreign Ministry has enlisted the assistance of the "Ramedia" company, which has contributed baby food.

The Department of International Cooperation of the Foreign Ministry will hold a seminar in Israel for senior officials from the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture, in order to train them to cope with the drought. MASHAV will also send an agronomist to train farmers in the use of advanced seeds from Israel.

President Katzav’s visit to Georgia and the provision of assistance is further evidence of the deep and friendly ties existing between Israel and Georgia. President Katzav visited Georgia in 1998 as the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism.