Saturday, December 22, 2007

150 tons of smuggled citrus fruit

Customs officials around Georgia have in the last 10 days found 150 tons of smuggled citrus fruit and nuts. You may laugh - who in their right mind would smuggle something like this?

Actually, it's deadly serious. When Russia closed its borders to Georgia, suddenly Georgia lost a huge market for its citrus (and other) fruits and nuts, as well as for its wine and other goods. At one stage fruits were taken through South Ossetia (which is in Georgia but trying to break away with the help of Russia). So obviously Georgian farmers are in deep trouble. Just before I left Georgia a week ago the price of a kilo of mandarins (the fruity kind) was under 40 Eurocents; here in Vilnius it's about 1.5 Euros.

Interestingly, considering that Lithuania is oh so supportive of Georgia, I can't find Georgian wines anywhere in the supermarkets, though I have seen Moldovan wines. Get the right Georgian wine, and it's fine, though there is some very sweet stuff around, too.

And why do we in Lithuania get our pomegranates from California when Georgia and Turkey have perfectly good ones? They may not been quite as nice and round, or shiny, as the Californian ones, but at least this way we could support some needy folk.