Training farmers to rescue the organic hazelnut production in Georgia
13 December, 2018
Even drizzling rain and unpleasant gusts of wind can’t prevent the farmers from coming and participating in the agricultural training. They surround the course instructor and agronomist Lasha Tsigriashvili of the governmental scientific research centre, who is kneeling beside a hazelnut shrub in the middle of an orchard in the village of Pereta in Guria.

Today’s lesson is all about pruning – the regular cutting away of dead or overgrown branches and stems. Lasha Tsigriashvili asks one of the participants to
cut away four stems of a shrub so that in the end only five stems are left. The farmers are skeptical. Fever stems means a smaller number of hazelnuts, they argue. In the long run, indeed the opposite is true, explains Lasha Tsigriashvili.
Pruning makes the hazelnut more robust

Thanks to the pruning, the left-over parts of the shrub receive more energy, which enhances the fruit growth and makes the shrub more robust in general. And sturdiness is what the hazelnuts in Georgian orchards are desperately in need of. While import and export of goods are increasing and climate change is underway, new pests arrive to the regions.

Read more: Georgia’s fight against the big tiny enemy – Asian Parosana

The most famous example is the brown marmorated stink bug that invaded West Georgia in 2016. But there are also other pests such as viruses, bacteria and fungi that threaten the hazelnut production. As organic farmers are restricted in the application of chemical pesticides, one of the most important measures is pruning.

“If farmers do not take better care of their orchards, then the situation continues to get worse year by year”, says Lasha Tsigriashvili regarding the fact that losses in hazelnut harvest have been devastating for the last two years and continue to be severe.
Hazelnut orchard in Guria

Indeed, the last years were not easy for the farmers of the Pereta cooperative that was funded in 2014, the only 24 year old director Vakho Merkvilishvili admits. This year, the 34 members of the cooperative harvested 40 tons of good quality hazelnuts out of 80 ha of land in total.“That is not enough”, says the director. And as if the pest infestations weren’t enough, the cooperative is in a price dispute with the fair trade company buying their hazelnuts.

Read more: Bleak times for organic farmers in Georgia – but there is hope

But despite these obstacles, and rather surprisingly, Vakho Merkvilishvili does not seem to be crestfallen at all. “Many of our members are young farmers with small patches of land and little knowledge about more intensive hazelnut production”, he explains. “But we really want to learn and improve”. Thanks to the Biological Farming Association Elkana, they have access to training like the one today.
Young and ambitious: the director of the agricultural cooperative in Pereta

With the support of Elkana, Vakho Merkvilishvili is optimistic that the cooperative will achieve their ambitious plans eventually. He himself returned to his village after his studies in mathematics in Tbilisi in order to develop the village and prevent it from dying out.

The cooperative has already started a tea plantation that should become a source of income in addition to the hazelnuts. “I want people to know the name of our village. Pereta is going to be a brand for foodstuff”, says Vakho Merkvilishvili before he returns to the group to catch more of the instructor’s precious advice.

Author: Martina Polek
Other Stories
"Start Your Impossible" – TOYOTA’s new campaign supporting Olympic and Paralympic athletes
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
Swiss cheese from a Georgian alp
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.
Good waste management will ensure high standard of living and environmental welfare
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
EU financing Georgian entrepreneurship
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 on his smoothie business success at BBC
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
Grand opening of 7–star hotel in Tbilisi
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
Historic City Center in Georgia’s Dusheti to Undergo Major Renovation
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
Person – New Georgian clothing brand hits the market
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia trapped in economic maelstrom
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Mineral water market expanding in Georgia
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
Exchange rate on dollar rising by the hour: “This is the fault of economic policy”
Some of Georgia’s commercial banks are already buying at 2 GEL per $1. Their webpages are publishing information regarding national currency’s exchange rate in real-time mode.
Ukraine in Same Bind as Georgia Was: Giorgi Kadagidze on Bloomberg
Georgia's central bank governor Giorgi Kadagidze says Ukraine is in the same bind as Georgia was in when Russia banned its neighbor’s exports in 2006
Price of admission, food and drinks reduced at "Kazantip"
Food and drinks at the territory of “Kazantip Republic” became cheaper. Some bars and food providers reduced their prices by 20% to 50%. For example, khinkali that cost 2 GEL
2 Lari per khinkali - Inflated prices at "Kazantip"
On the 20th of August, at 9 in the evening, “Kazantip” festival was declared officially open, with both multitudes of foreign guests and local denizens attending.
Georgian Lari to have its own symbol
From now on, Georgian national currency, the Lari, will have its own symbol. Georgia’s National Bank declared a contest to select the symbol in December of 2013.
 Why were car prices reduced in Georgia
Georgian auto business is under the threat of collapse. There’s an unusual lack of people at Rustavi Automarket, yet despite the forced reduction of prices recently, many cars
Georgia signs landmark trade deal with EU – Al Jazeera
Georgia has signed a so called Association Agreement with the European Union in Brussels.
‘Panorama Tbilisi’ – How Ivanishvili’s ambitious project looks like
Gardabani’s greenhouse economy is on its first stage of replacing 30% of imported tomatoes with locally produced ones.
Fake driver’s licenses – 3 individuals arrested for fraud
Officers of Samtskhe-Javakheti Regional Main Division as a result of an active investigation exposed Mntsakan P (DoB 1985) Davit Ch. (DoB 1991) and Vachagan B. (DoB 1965) for fraud.
GEL rate is stable – Nodar Khaduri
“GEL rate has been stable, and there’s been a tendency of USD decline“, the Minister of Finance Nodar Khaduri stated.
Economy Minister warns Georgian businessmen about Russian market
The government has warned business owners against planning entirely for the Russian market, Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili told Palitra TV program “Ema’s Show”.
Nodar Khaduri says there is no source of concern in rate increase of US Dollar
Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri told Palitra TV program “Ema’s Show” the rate increase of the US Dollar with relation to the Lari was no source of concern, adding there were constant consultations with the National Bank of Georgia on the matter.
1.759,670 bottles of Georgian wine exported to Russia
1.759,670 bottles of wine have been exported to Russia, Agriculture Minister Shalva Pipia said at a meeting with journalists. According to him, Russia is among the top five markets for Georgian wine.
Paris and Berlin celebrate 25 years of economic marriage
Celebrating 25 years of working closely together on their economies, Germany and France’s Economic and Financial Council met on Tuesday at a moment when many have been saying the relationship was breaking down.
Offshore: Bidzina Ivanishvili among identified – Euronews
The few hiding money in offshore banks from the many who do not have the luxury…
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Business associations representing various sector of the hospitality industry in Georgia agreed to establish Georgian Tourism Industry Alliance (GTIA).
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund has approved US$200 million financing to Georgia to address the effects of the COVID19 pandemic.
Georgia’s Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava pledged that Georgia would be one of the first countries to open safe tourist corridors with other countries.
International Monetary Fund forecasts a 4% contraction of Georgia’s economy, which very much depends on tourism and money transfers.
Pandemic has affected everyone worldwide, but one of the most vulnerable are retailers, those who depend on consumers and their spending.
According to the 2019 Open Budget Survey (OBS), conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), Georgia got 81 points out of 100 in state budget transparency, the Transparency International Georgia said on Wednesday.
Within the GRETA project, the EU, Sweden and Austria launched the Local Development Initiative (LDI), to create great economic opportunities in the organic agriculture sector for farmers, farmer groups, cooperatives, processing units as well as other actors along various organic value chains.
Food chain security is becoming more and more important as lockdown stays in place and farmers cannot transport their products from one place to another.
Georgian government has introduced a crisis management plan that consists of different stages. GEL 3.5 billion will be spent to cushion economy but this amount does not cover the post-crisis recovery period.
Due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic of the coronavirus disease COVID-19, the EU has proposed a new package of macro-financial assistance.
GEL Exchange
June 2020
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