Georgia's climate and soil have made agriculture one of its most productive economic sectors; the 18 percent of Georgian land that is arable provided 32 percent of the republic's NMP in 1990. In the Soviet period, swampy areas in the west were drained and arid regions in the east were salvaged by a complex irrigation system, allowing Georgian agriculture to expand production tenfold between 1918 and 1980. Production was hindered in the Soviet period, however, by the misallocation of agricultural land (for example, the assignment of prime grain fields to tea cultivation) and excessive specialization. Georgia's emphasis on labor-intensive crops such as tea and grapes kept the rural work force at an unsatisfactory level of productivity. Some 25 percent of the Georgian work force was engaged in agriculture in 1990; 37 percent had been so engaged in 1970. In the spring of 1993, sowing of spring crops was reduced by onethird on state land and by a substantial amount on private land as well because of fuel and equipment shortages. For the first half of 1993, overall agricultural production was 35 percent less than for the same period of 1992.
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