BUSINESS
23-year-old Georgian farmer who runs three different agricultural enterprises
03 December, 2016
Marika Kodua lives in Zugdidi Municipality’s village of Darcheli and manages three different farms at once.

The 23-year-old can thoroughly speak about the problems and challenges in agricultural field and behind her arguments there are longstanding work, close contact with each sphere and personal experiences. In spite of her young age, Marika has already took charge of nuts and honey enterprises as well as set up a new, silage production.

Marika Kodua: Corn silage is a vacuum-packed fodder, which we
produced for the first time. It can be fed to cattle and bought at the local markets.

In our region, the big part of agricultural land is full of hazelnuts, so there is very little space for pastures left. Even the hay is brought from the mountains. Silage is used by small farmers for feeding cattle. For Georgia it is a new product and I think, very profitable.

Marika’s family began to export hazelnuts to Europe in 2001. Part of raw products they took from their own plantations and another part was bought from local population. From harvesting to selling, Marika manages everything by herself and part from that she’s also involved in agriculture. From 70 beehives, Koduas produce close to two tons of honey and then they sell it on the local market.

Marika has thought of branding her honey too, but small market and lack of time forced her to change plans. The young farmer thinks, the country has a very good potential in this field.

- You are involved in three agricultural fields at once. What main problems do you face?

- The main problem in agriculture is the availability of funds. The property in the village is not considered to be quite realizable, particularly the land. Accordingly, the availability of funds is the greatest problem for us. It’s particularly difficult if a young person is not backed by anyone. When I was in the process of formally establishing my enterprise, I faced lots of problems. Many initiatives come from above but their implementation is hampered locally. The majority of instructions are not implemented on the lower level and unfortunately there is no control mechanism for that.
geotv.ge
- However, currently the agriculture is considered to be the priority in this country…


- That is true. The government says it’s a priority, but in my opinion, nothing will happen if nothing is invested in young people’s activities and their proper education. Apart from that, it is also necessary to implement modern technologies and it needs a huge financial support. Today, a peasant is forced to do everything with his bare hands, which raises the net cost and that is why our products are not competitive at the European market. New initiatives, fellowships, educational programs are needed. The agricultural field is linked with many problems and for young people it is particularly difficult to develop in terms of business activities. And if the young people are not interested, older ones will not be able to do anything even if you give them ultra-modern equipment. New blood is essential.

- In your opinion, how can Georgian products compete with those imported from other countries?


- Agriculture is tightly connected with the economy. The paying capacity of Georgian population is very low. Many people complain about Turkish tomatoes being cheaper than those cultivated in Georgia, but nobody pays attention that Turkey has a very huge economy, large enterprises and assistance from the government. In order for the local production to breathe freely, it is necessary to impose quotas on imported products, at least on those which are considered the priority in Georgia. A small farmer in Georgia who cultivates his products in little greenhouses will never be able to compete with Turkish companies whose budget is hundreds of millions. It is necessary to impose quotas and control the quality. When this becomes reality, then we will be able to compete. Then when we increase our factories, the prices will become lower.

- How do you manage to constantly develop your enterprise and what advice would you give to the young people, who are unemployed and have never thought of try working agricultural field?

- First of all, it’s the desire that counts. I am grateful to my parents who taught me the importance of hard work. They always supported and encouraged me. Working in agriculture takes a lot of energy. When you work somewhere and have financial independence, then you may have some ideas, but you do not have time to implement them. I don’t know why, but from the very beginning I could not imagine myself being subordinated to someone. So I think hard work and desire are the main things. Apart from that, agriculture is a very risky field. You may lose everything in the very first year but if you don’t stop and keep going, everything will be possible.

By Kristine Gamtenadze
Source: BPN.ge
Photo:
Culinartmagazine.com

Related Stories:

“Nobody can do your business better than you” – Young Georgian winemaker tells her story


Gogowine - 27-year-old Georgian PR manager becomes successful winemaker


Meet Nodar, not your 'Typical' Farmer
Print