In The Land of Samsthe-Javakheti, Where the Potatoes Grow
03 October, 2016
In The Land of Samsthe-Javakheti, Where the Potatoes Grow
From my experience, media tours usually tend to turn out as either dreadfully boring or very fun, in both cases missing the main point of the undertaking – providing media people with some hands-on knowledge on the matter they’ll be producing stories about. Make it too boring and facts & stats heavy and you get equally dull material, go all-in into fun part and well, as the popular meme goes, ain’t nobody got time for stories and that. Thankfully, the media
tour organized by ENPARD (European Neighborhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (my head aches every time I have to spell it out like this) in Georgia hit the solid, if somewhat unspectacular golden middle – being informative without being dull on a subject that could really use some serious media boost. That is, agrotourism, cooperatives and all the European know-how we’ll have to learn and adopt to access the European market and make our agriculture at least somewhat sustainable. More on that later.

But first, on the destination. Samtskhe-Javakheti is a rocky and hilly land, and while the stark beauty of its landscapes is breathtaking, there are very few cultivable fields. That is especially true for places like Tsalka and cities of Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki. This limitation has prompted the local farmers and entrepreneurs to narrow down the list of possibilities and specialize, resulting in potato coming up highest in the production chain, becoming somewhat synonymous with the region as a whole. And indeed, it would be fair to say that our media tour had its fair share of sightseeing focused exactly on this particular vegetable.
geotv.ge
Our first stop was at “Khulgumo”, the cooperative specializing in potato cultivation. The cooperative consists of 20 people (16 women, talk about gender equality!), which stands as a higher than usual number of workforce as far as these newly hatched cooperative enterprises go, we were told. Unlike it Soviet times, when “cooperative” approach was forcefully imposed upon people, in modern Georgia, incentives of creating a cooperative (or enrolling into one) are somewhat murky and less than sustainable, so most of these cooperatives are boosted by external funds by donors and government. The folks at “Khulgumo” jointly work on some 30 hectares of land and to help them in this undertaking, Mercy Corps, one of ENPARD’s implementing partners has supplied them with a tractor and trailer, together with necessary machinery, all of which they proudly presented to us. The bolstered cooperative, we were told, registered a significant increase in production output, with 8-10 tone margin of annual per hectare production skyrocketing to 30 to 45 tones. Potatoland ahoy!
geotv.ge
Our next stop was at “Five Stars 2010” cooperative, which specializes into… potato cultivation. Well, I warned you. But jokes aside, this was a neat place and I imagine the welfare of more than 20 families depend of how well the cooperative is doing, so my best wishes to them. “Five Stars” were also not without problems: shortage of high-quality seeds and fertilizers meant they were scoring not so high on production charts. The arrival of ENPARD and Mercy Corps changed at that, with the farmers getting their hands on E-class potato seeds and fertilizers, which in turn enabled them to considerably increase the level and quality of their production.

Cooperative “Moskhi”, next in line and first of its name, was established through the combined efforts of 4 people living in a village of Tsnisi. The cooperative is engaged in production of :dramatic music: :drums: potato! But not only that: it also produces onion, carrot and beetroot. This was one of cooperatives that hadn’t yet received an assistance from ENPARD & Mercy Corps duo, though the blessing spell has already been cast: The cooperative stands to receive the assortment of agricultural aggregates – sowing combiner, base creator, spray equipment and onion harvester. The amount of grant is just short of 15000 USD.
geotv.ge
Farmer’s service center “Serioja Ezoyan” proved to be the most interesting of stops for me, and that’s not just because of fairly hilarious name that it shares with its owner (Ezoyan means the owner of an yeard in Georgian, so the cooperative’s name stands as Serioja, the owner of yard. Ha ha. Well, it seemed pretty funny that time). After visiting the first three cooperatives, I really wanted to see a place that would serve as sort of logistics hub for farmers. Well, the entrepreneur here owns its office, retail and storage facilities and provides pretty much all necessary assistance to the farmers- starting with seeds and medical supplies ending with plant protection products and fertilizers. So, a place of strategic importance both for farmers and their buyers. IF I could offer my five cents, I’d say in longer run, that Akhalkalaki would benefit with two of those, to increase the competitive aspect of the process. ENPARD and Mercy Corps supplied Mr. Ezoyan and co. with a vehicle to transport their goods making their products accessible to about 4000 farmers. Another good deliverable is that the center also offers information and consultation, as well as trainings in different fields. One could argue that the government should be doing that, which they do, but a helping hand from private entrepreneur is not to be shunned.

That wrapped up my account of day one, with day two consisting of a somewhat mundane presentation of what Enpard & the govt do in the region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. The speaker, Mr. Misheladze, was from govt sector and I had the feeling that his presentation was designers with donors and stakeholders in mind, rather than journalists. Well, it’s the government, what can you do. At least they try to do good things instead of bickering with opponents on TV for a change.

The saga ends with us visiting the agriculture exhibition presented by Mercy Corps, who rightfully deserve all the credits they are getting for implementing the ENPARD project. The scope of work they carried out is visible even for an untrained eye, and a fervor and enthusiasm they spoke with is certainly a thing of luxury these times. The exhibition was interesting, with, as we were told, more than 200 cooperatives presenting their trade (mostly potatoes. Sorry!), and tens of service providing companies offering their skills and competences to farmers and other actors involved.
geotv.ge
In the end, this was, FRANKLY, one of the most productive media tours I’ve been in and I’ve seen my fair share of those. Not boring, not fun, but productive.

By Inga Mumladze
Print
Other Stories
Doing business in Georgia has become easier than in America
According to the Doing Business 2019 report published by the World Bank, Georgia ranked 6th among 190 countries in terms of simplicity of doing business. This was an improvement over two ranks compared to last year.
Problems that foreigners frequently face in Georgia
The importance of Georgia as a tourism hub is growing year after year.
Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower – Better than the Eiffel Tower?
It is planned to renovate the Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower, one of the landmarks in the capital.
Georgian Fusion Menu by The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi
5,895,914 international visitors have visited Georgia between January and August of 2018. Compared to the previous year the number has increased by 12.2 per cent.
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia. Those who violate the new rule would be fined GEL 10 000.
Lebanese café-lounge Beirut opens in Tbilisi
What is necessary to organize an unforgettable event? – Fun, emotions, lots of surprises, good music and delicious menu.
Georgia second among the fastest growing tourist destinations in Europe
Georgia is among the fastest growing tourist destinations in Europe. The data is published by the UN World Tourism Organization.
Bitmain launches world digital mining summit in Tbilisi, Georgia
Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu and Roger Ver, CEO of Bitcoin.com Head Speaker List featuring Circle, DEX.top and Genesis Mining when Digital Mining Leaders Convene In Tbilisi on September 21-23
GAZELLE FINANCE GEORGIA AND TBC BANK HELP THE WESTERN REGIONAL CENTER OF MODERN MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES EXPAND ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTHCARE SERVICES IN KUTAISI, GEORGIA
TBC Bank and Gazelle Finance have teamed-up to support Medical City, a leading healthcare provider in the western region of Georgia to launch the Western Regional Center Of Modern Medical Technologies.
Equivalent to buried treasure – resources that are underused in Georgia
For 2018 the IMF Commission has forecast an annual economic growth for the Georgian economy of about 5,5%.
Does the quality of Georgian wine increase and how the export affects it
If we look at the data collected about modern Georgian wine, we will find out that the Georgian wines produced between 2015-2017 are much better in terms of their quality and Oenologic features rather than the wines produced between 2009-2011.
Japan simplifies the visa requirements for Georgian citizens
Diplomatic and economic relations between Georgia and Japan are now moving to a new phase. Recently Japan has decided to simplify the visa requirements for Georgian citizens.
M&S (Marks and Spencer) and H&M collections to be produced in Georgia
Garments manufacturer MGMTEX will start production of the M&S and H&M trendy collections from this September.
The World Digital Mining Summit to be held in Georgia
The summit is scheduled to take place between 21st-23rd September in the Hualing Hotel, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Galt and Taggart - Tourism Boom Continues in Georgia
Tourism has become one of the key drivers for the Georgian economy. Galt and Taggart has recently published research about the Georgian tourism sector in the first half of 2018.
"The worst dream for Putin is that Russians want to live in Georgia"
This year, visitors to the Adjara region would notice that there is a boom in construction in and around Batumi.
Underground gas storage facility to be built in Georgia
KfW, a German government-owned development bank signed a EUR 150 million promotional loan with the state-owned Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) for the construction of the first underground gas storage facility in Georgia.
New gambling rules for Georgia
Georgian lawmakers are preparing a new draft law relating to online-casinos and gambling that will seek to curb gambling addiction in Georgia.
How expensive is it to visit Georgia?
The Georgian Lari (GEL) is the official currency of Georgia and is the only legal means of payment in the entire territory of Georgia.
Trade with the EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has grown significantly
Trade with the EU and the CIS has grown by 26% and 33.5 % respectively, says GeoStat, the Georgian National Statistics Office.
The unemployment rate decreases in Georgia
The unemployment rate decreased in Georgia by 1,9% and amounted to 12.1% in the 2nd quarter of 2018 compared with the previous quarter,
Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between Georgia and Malaysia
According to the Georgian Ambassador to Malaysia Nikoloz Apkhazava, Georgia plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia.
“Blauenstein Georgia” due to expand in Georgia
“Blauenstein Georgia” is planning to open more shops in Georgia. It is an agriculture company that sells meat products, meat and convenience food.
The amount of Direct Foreign Investment rises in Georgia
According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of direct foreign investment in Georgia has risen
It’s going to get  harder for foreigners to get residence permit in Georgia
It’s going to get harder for foreigners to get permit of residence in Georgia.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
06.11.2018
07.11.2018
USD
1
USD
2.7383
2.7524
EUR
1
EUR
3.1162
3.1386
GBP
1
GBP
3.5628
3.5864
RUB
100
RUB
4.1226
4.1712
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.7524
EUR
1
EUR
3.1386
GBP
1
GBP
3.5864
RUB
100
RUB
4.1712
November 2018
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30