Georgia buys damaged grapes
Following the devastating hailstorms in Georgia, which wreaked havoc on vineyards primarily in the municipalities of Kvareli, Telavi, Akhmeta, Sighnaghi, and Gurjaani, the state is now stepping in to assist the affected winegrowers. As announced by the export body to Germany, the state-run Harvest Management Company is purchasing 500 tons of damaged grape harvest from the winegrowers for distillation.
"At four different locations, winegrowers are handing over hail-damaged grapes to the state-run Harvest Management Company LCC," explains Levan Mekhuzla, President of the National Wine Agency of Georgia (NWAG). He mentions that over 3,500 hectares were affected by hail damage. The winegrowers receive $0.32 per kilogram from the state.
In 2021, according to NWAG, Georgia harvested 245,000 tons of grapes. In 2022, it was 257,000 tons — of which 245,000 were in Kakheti, the most important wine-growing region, which has recently been particularly affected by hail damage.
First state aid also in Greece
In storm-damaged Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the launch of a first aid platform on September 11, 2023, as reported by Hellas Posts. The aid packages are designed to cover 80% of the costs for rebuilding residential buildings and 70% of the costs for companies affected, primarily in the agricultural sector. The goal is to provide the aid as unbureaucratically and quickly as possible.
As immediate aid, a one-time extraordinary grant of €10,000 for private households and €4,000 for companies is planned. Additionally, subsidies of €6,000 for initial repairs to the damaged houses are being allocated. Rent or housing cost subsidies ranging from €300 to €500 per person will also be made available to residents of the affected areas so that they can find temporary replacement accommodation.
Moreover, tax and insurance obligations as well as enforcement measures will be suspended for 6 months. Affected companies will also be allowed to suspend their employees' work contracts, who will in turn receive a substitute grant of €534 per month. The extraordinary aid package is expected to have a total volume of €45m.
For financing, EU funds for agriculture, reconstruction, and natural disasters could be used. "Europe must stand by our country and provide substantial financial support to cope with this great catastrophe, which is certainly directly related to the climate crisis and demands that Europe faces the situation," says Kyriakos Mitsotakis.