Qatar plans to grow corn in Georgia, import 70,000 sheep a year

Sheep crossing the Alazani River, Georgia (Photo: Hans Heiner Buhr)

Bloomberg | 26 February 2010

By Helena Bedwell

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Qatar plans to buy land in Georgia for corn cultivation and to begin this year importing as many as 70,000 sheep a year from the former Soviet republic, Georgian Agriculture Minister Bakur Kvezereli said.

“They’re interested in buying land in Georgia for agriculture and are also interested in importing our vegetables and sheep,” Kvezereli said in an interview late yesterday on a flight from Doha to the Georgian capital Tbilisi. “They’re willing to pay as much as $250 per sheep.”

Kvezereli accompanied Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri to Doha this week for talks with government officials and business leaders, following President Mikheil Saakashvili’s trip to the country last November.

Saakashvili last year turned to the Middle East to revive foreign investment that slowed to a trickle following a war with Russia in August 2008 and the global economic slump. In October, he said he had netted as much as $1 billion of investment from the United Arab Emirates within the next two to three years. A month later, a trip to Qatar yielded a pledge to “invest heavily” in Georgia.

Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co., part of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, plans to complete plans for investments in Georgia following a fact-finding trip in April, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Hassan Alfadala said on Feb. 24.

--Editor: Patrick G. Henry
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