Bleak times for organic farmers in Georgia – but there is hope
12 December, 2018
Bleak times for organic farmers in Georgia – but there is hope
Organic hazelnut production is a delicate plant in Georgia that has emerged just a couple of years ago. Various pests, among them the Asian stink bug Parosana, trouble hazelnut farmers and menace their livelihood – even before their businesses could really take off. “The stink bug invasion was a disaster and still is, especially for organic farmers”, says Mariam Jorjadze, director of the Biological Farming Association Elkana in Georgia.

Asian Parosana invaded Western Georgia in 2016. Although the bug attacks corn
and citrus fruits as well, it causes the most damage to hazelnuts – Georgia’s main food stuff export. While conventional farmers benefit from major chemical pesticides spraying campaigns by the government, the organic farmers are forbidden to use such combat methods.
Asian Parosana is a big threat to the Georgian hazelnut production

Last year, as a consequence, every third farmer couldn’t harvest any hazelnuts at all, says Jorjadze. “The organic sector is in danger. We don’t think it will be the end, but the next year is going to be very challenging”. The quality requirements for organic hazelnuts are especially high as they are mainly exported to Europe.

However, according to the governmental statistics only 15% of the losses in hazelnuts are directly linked to the stink bug. This number is supported by the observations of the members of Elkana. “There is high humidity in Western Georgia. Thus, we think that the main losses are caused by fungal diseases,” says Jorjadze.
A stink bug trap, photo courtesy: NFA

As a matter of fact, the reasons for the enormous losses of hazelnut farmers – in the organic as well as in the conventional production – are multiple and interconnected. For instance, when a stink bug attacks a nut and punctures its shell, this might not be the end of the fruit. However, the hole facilitates others pests such as fungi to penetrate the nut and infest it.

Georgian farmers need more agricultural know-how

That is why it is important that the organic farmers do not only trap and kill the stink bugs, but also invest much more time and work in the maintenance of their hazelnut orchards. “They must prune the shrubs properly in order to make sure there is enough light in the orchards and as a consequence less humidity and ergo less fungi”, says Jorjadze.

Read more: Training farmers to rescue the organic hazelnut production in Georgia

Most of the mainly small scale hazelnut farmers have not heard of the importance of such measures yet. But as hazelnuts have increasingly gained importance in the past years, more and more farmers have specialized in this commodity and have bigger and bigger hazelnut orchards.
Hazelnut orchard in the village of Pereta in Guria

“Of a mono-crop you need to take care like of a vineyard, that’s what we say to those farmers”, says Jorjadze. That is why, Elkana invests in agricultural trainings for the farmers. Elkana’s hope: Increasing know-how improves the management of hazelnut orchards and makes them more robust against pest attacks.

“Professional organic farmers achieved good quality in hazelnuts, even in these difficult times. Organic farmers, who are open-minded, have access to information, and who are ready to put their heart and soul in their farms will survive”, says Jorjadze.

Author: Martina Polek

Related stories:

Georgian desserts to taste in winter

Discover protected areas and national parks in Georgia- Part 3

TasteAtlas about Georgian dishes – Part 5

Other Stories
Georgian citizens are granted the right to work in France
The French Embassy in Georgia made remarks on granting Georgian citizens the right to work in France
The New York Times: Bitcoin declines but Georgia still bet on it
The New York Times has recently published an article about reasons, challenges and causes of generating Bitcoin in the former Soviet country Georgia.
EU to allocate € 13 billion for Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia
The European Union together with the World Bank plans to allocate investment worth € 13 billion for infrastructure projects in the Eastern Partnership countries.
Anaklia Port and its importance for Georgia
In 2016, Anaklia Development Consortium was authorized to launch the construction of Anaklia Port.
Cryptocurrency mining threatens electrical network in Abkhazia
In the breakaway region of Akbhazia rampant cryptocurrency mining is threatening the shaky electrical network, reports an article of the news portal EuroNet.
Caucasus Wine University to be opened in Gurjaani
In the Kakheti region a new viticulture campus of the Caucasus University is in the process of planning.
Photos describing life of the poorest in Georgia
Fight with poverty should be among top priorities of every government in every country.
Training farmers to rescue the organic hazelnut production in Georgia
Even drizzling rain and unpleasant gusts of wind can’t prevent the farmers from coming and participating in the agricultural training.
Hybrid car imports are going through the roof in Georgia
Thanks to their fuel economy, the popularity of hybrid cars is increasing in Georgia, where fuel affordability is low and prices for fuel are unstable.
The New Year offer from MAQRO Construction - Apartments with unbelievable discounts and the parking spaces for FREE!
Location, green yard, spaces for various needs, experience of the construction company and parking space are the main important criteria for potential buyers of apartments.
Interview with the co-founder of Kiwi Vegan Café – the first vegan place in Tbilisi
Behind the Kiwi Vegan Café stands a group of activists who wants to raise Georgian’s awareness for animal rights and welfare.
Biblusi opens first shop for tourists - Georgian
The largest book shop in Georgia Biblusi opens the first shop specially designated to the needs and interests of tourists and named it Georgian.
Georgia improves by five ranks in the Prosperity Index
In the overall Prosperity Index rankings, Georgia has climbed by 5 positions from 85 to 80 when compared to last year. As such, Georgia is the best performing country in the CIS zone.
The future is bright for electric cars in Georgia
The numerous hybrid cars in the streets of Tbilisi cannot be overlooked. Entrepreneur Sulkhan Gvalia calls them “pagers”, referring to the predecessor of mobile phones.
Georgia’s fight against the big tiny enemy – Asian Parosana
It’s a tiny creature, but the harm it did to the Georgian agriculture sector was and still is immense.
New cable route: from Kobi to Gudauri in 15 minutes
On the 15th of December, cable transport is scheduled to be opened connecting Kobi and Gudauri.
Tourist boom in Gudauri – majority of hotels are booked by foreigners
Gudauri is among the most popular winter resorts in Georgia.
Medical tourism increases in Georgia
In the last 9 months, Georgia was visited by 19 500 foreigners for medical and recovery purposes.
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.
GEL Exchange Rate
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
March 2019
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 31