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Georgia: Betting on Boers for an Agricultural Comeback

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Piet Kemp oversees the planting of corn seeds.

As would any farmer with 750 hectares of land to cultivate, 68-year-old Piet Kemp likes to talk crops with the locals. But Kemp usually needs a Georgian translator to do his talking. A continent away from his native South Africa, Kemp now runs a corn business in the southern Georgian region of Kvemo-Kartli, not far from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

“We had a little bit of a problem with wind this year, but we are still hoping to produce some 2,000 tons of wheat and 3,000 tons of corn,” said Kemp one recent workday, as he showed off silos, a tractor repair shop and brand-new machinery to a visiting reporter.

Kemp is one of the first in what the Georgian government hopes will be a long line of South African – primarily Boer -- farmers who will help revitalize Georgia’s sagging agricultural sector. But the official expectations go beyond simply planting crops.

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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi. Justyna Mielnikiewicz is a freelance photojournalist also based in Tbilisi.

Georgia: Betting on Boers for an Agricultural Comeback

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