Saving Tusheti and Tushetians, Czech style
03 July, 2015
Saving Tusheti and Tushetians, Czech style
60-year-old Elene Gagoidze is the only woman who considers Tusheti region’s picturesque Shenako village her permanent home. Despite very harsh conditions of life, she and her husband have spent decades in this place, refusing to leave it no matter what. In winter, they raise livestock, while in summer they grow potatoes.

”We should focus more on keeping Tushetians in Tusheti and ensuring they do not desert this part of Georgia”

Tusheti, a mountainous region in the northeast of Georgia, is
one of the most breathtakingly beautiful of the country’s protected areas. However, for many years it was essentially separated from the outside world – in the 1980’s, electricity supply to the region was cut and restored only a few years ago with the help of Czech Development Agency.
But the local population still lives in hardship, in no small part due to the only road that connects Tusheti to the rest of the country. This road is 72 kilometers long, stretching from the village of Omalo through Abano and then to the village of Pshaveli; at the Abano mountain pass, it reaches the altitude of 2950 meters above sea level. Because of heavy snowfalls, the pass closes in October and remains so until the middle of May. Even if it wasn’t the case, the area would be impassable for most of the year anyway. Due to this, most denizens of Tusheti’s villages actually live in their homes only in summertime, overwhelmingly preferring to spend winters in Kakheti.
It is precisely the return of Tushetians to their native region that has become the purpose of the new project by Czech Development Agency. The project aims to assist with creating a traditional, stable industry in Tusheti and providing material and technical support to its beneficiaries. Within its framework, the main effort will be made towards strengthening agriculture and animal husbandry, namely growing potatoes and introducing mechanized shearing of sheep. However, all this should be achieved through farmers’ cooperation. The project started in 2013 and will continue toll 2016; its total budget comprises 510 000 EUR.

“The principle of cooperation makes it easier to acquire special vehicles and high quality seeds – we import them in large amounts and spend less. There’s also the issue of fuel, which is very acute in Tusheti”
Elene Gagoidze joined the potato farmers’ cooperatives last year; the family has contributed their entire harvest – 4 tons of potatoes – to the joint effort.
“Thanks to the cooperative, selling potatoes has become much easier for us. We have to work in very difficult conditions, so I think that having a cooperative is a necessary thing – it provides people with special vehicles and all other kinds of help,” says the farmwife.
Thanks to the project, the farmers’ associated expenses were covered during the first year, but from now on they have to manage their transportation and other costs themselves.
Tushetian farmers are also given an opportunity to store their harvest - both potatoes and wool – in a special warehouse before it is sold. The warehouse is located in the village of Kvemo Alvani; within the project’s framework, it was repaired and put back into shape.
According to Shorena Elanidze, chair of the farmers’ cooperative, Czech Development Agency has been of great help to them, teaching and training local farmers. In addition, the cooperative will soon have its own agronomist and a lawyer. She also says that there are 14 farmers from various villages currently registered as members; considering how thinly populated Tusheti is, with barely more than five people living in each village, this figure is quite an achievement.
“The principle of cooperation makes it easier to acquire special vehicles and high quality seeds – we import them in large amounts and spend less. There’s also the issue of fuel, which is very acute in Tusheti. The Czechs have provided us with a truck that we use to transport fuel to the region. Purpose of our project is to increase the farming output of Tusheti and sell the crops and wool to local family hotels,” explains Shorena Elanidze.
According to Hynek Ciboch, head of the project formulation department of Czech Development Agency, the essential part of the project focuses on the human resources support, provision of selected production inputs and coordination of sales of agricultural products. Local capacities will be developed through training with the target group of farmers or shepherds and trainers who will be able to pass on the acquired knowledge and skills. As he declared to Georgian Journal, for now the main problem is infrastructure and connection to the lowland road for locals.
“[Our project] is quite a challenge, because it introduces new standards for locals - they did everything the old way for decades and now they have to change their attitude and their minds to accommodate new processes of production. But it is evident that more and more of them start realizing that if they will join cooperatives, they can produce more, and they will get more important players in the market. They can also use agricultural inputs together, which can both get them lower prices and help them increase the volume. I think that increasing their productivity is the most important thing,” says Mr. Ciboch.
Supporting development of traditional agricultural industry in Tusheti is hardly the first project of Czech Development Agency in this area. It was precisely due to their help that denizens of Tusheti had solar panels installed in their homes, providing them with much-needed access to hot water.
According to Albert Sido, Attaché for Development Cooperation of Embassy of the Czech Republic to Georgia, that thanks to Czech Development Agency, another of Tusheti’s problems will soon be solved as well, and an important one, at that. Very soon, a clinic will open in the village of Omalo, and a doctor with a nurse will be at the locals’ service.
It would indeed be a huge relief for Tushetians, since to this day, the entire region was served by a single doctor, who moved around on horseback. Thanks to help of the Czechs, the new resident doctor will be provided with a Mitsubishi off-road vehicle.
Czech Development Agency have implemented a multitude of projects throughout Georgia in a variety of fields – healthcare, agriculture, education and women’s rights.
According to Albert Sido, the number one aim of the projects in Tusheti is to keep people in Tusheti.
“We should focus more on keeping Tushetians in Tusheti and ensuring they do not desert this part of Georgia. This is our top priority – to keep people here, because it is a beautiful part of Georgia, and the country cannot afford losing it,” says Mr. Sido.

Author: Mari Javakhishvili
Other Stories
Premiere of the film “And then we danced” to be held amid possible unrest
The premiere of the 2019 Swedish-Georgian drama film - And Then We Danced, directed by Levan Akin, is scheduled to be held at Tbilisi and Batumi cinemas today.
Explosion after Possible gas leak in Tbilisi
A natural gas leak is the suspected cause of an explosion that destroyed the part of a multi-storey residential building on Guramishvili Avenue in Tbilisi.
Exclusive interview with Gail Elliott
The name of Gail Elliott is known to anyone. She was among supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Claudia Schiffer in the 1990s.
Mountaineer and pioneer: Nick Erkomaishvili
In 1989 Nick Erkomaishvili and some friends agreed to guide a group of Swiss climbers to Mount Kazbek. This encounter led them to become the first Georgian tour operators. And they founded the one and only Georgian Mountain Guide School.
Police in Tbilisi detain 11 for child pornography
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has arrested 11 members of a criminal group on the charges of child trafficking and pornography.
“She had schizophrenia” – Mother of the perpetrator of the 3-year-old boy speaks out
On the 27th of August in Tbilisi an unknown woman suddenly approached to a three-year-old boy, walking with his parents and sister, and harmed his face with sharp instrument and escaped.
Dead woman found in Tbilisi
In Tbilisi suburb called Temka dead woman is found. According to unofficial information, the fire brigade was called by the neighbors.
Nik West and Niko Kandelaki publish their wedding video
Famous American singer Nik West and Georgian Niko Kandelaki got married on the 11th of May but have only just published pictures and video about their wedding.
16-year-old dies due to reanimobile technical problems
16-year-old boy, Luka Popkhadze, whose health condition worsened due to reanimobile ambulance vehicle technical problems, has died. He was in a coma for 41 days.
Crashes and explosions heard on the Rustaveli Avenue
Crashes and explosions heard on the Rustaveli Avenue,
3 year old child, stabbed by passer-by in Tbilisi, to be discharged from clinic today
The 3 years old child, who was stabbed by a passer-by, will be discharged from Zhvania Clinic today,
After ten days of filming Fast&Furious, Tbilisi citizens have something to joke about
Filming of The Fast and the Furious 10 was started on the 18th of August in Georgia (It will take part in two cities – Tbilisi and Rustavi) and will last until the 20th of September.
Guram Sudadze’s Georgian hand made cars
There are people who make cars in their garages all around the world and Georgia is no exception.
Georgian wine company “20%” against Russian occupation
Ana Gabriadze and Nika Markozashvili are Georgian entrepreneurs living in the village of Ditsi near the occupation line.
Russian tourists: “We are tourists from Russia and we love Georgia”
‘We are tourists from Russia and we love Georgia” reads the placard of Russian girls supporting the anti-occupation demonstrators gathered in front of the Parliament building in Tbilisi.
President Salome Zourabichvili collecting peaches in Kakheti
The photos of President Salome Zourabichvili collecting peaches in eastern Kakheti region of Georgia have gone viral.
GEL 700 000 bail ordered for Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze
GEL 700 000 bail was ordered for TBC Bank founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze on July 26.
Elizabeth Rood just reached the peak of Mount Kazbegi
Embassy Tbilisi, Georgia has recently uploaded a photo of Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Elizabeth Rood reaching the peak of Mount Kazbegi.
Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze leave positions in Anaklia Board of Governors
TBC Bank founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze have left the positions of chairman and deputy chairman of the Anaklia Board of Governors.
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Elizabeth Rood climbing up Mkinvartsveri
US Embassy Tbilisi, Georgia has recently uploaded a photo of Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Elizabeth Rood climbing up Mkinvartsveri.
Collection of Soviet Cars of Famous Georgians are now presented to public
Tbilisi AutoMuseum houses Soviet cars of Lavrentiy Beria, Eduard Shevardnadze, the current Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II and other famous Georgians.
British Embassy releases statement about charges against TBC Bank co-founders
The UK is closely watching developments related to the criminal charges the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has made against TBC co-founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze,
US Embassy releases statement about charges against TBC Bank co-founders
We are concerned about the context and timing of the charges the Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office has filed against TBC Bank co-founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze,
Mamuka Khazaradze: "I am ready for anything"
TBC Bank founder Mamuka Khazaradze says he is ready for everything and nobody can intimidate him.
Mamuka Khazaradze: "We will build Anaklia Port anyway"
Mamuka Khazaradze, founder of TBC Bank, will arrive at the Prosecutor General's Office.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
World famous British singer Jessie J has decided to wear clothes made by Anouki Areshidze, Georgian designer and wife of the mayor of Tbilisi.
Bassiani, one of the most popular underground clubs not only in Georgia but throughout Europe as well, has opened today
An amazing video made in Georgia by tourists from the Philippines have gone viral on the internet.
Over the recent two days May 12-13 Tbilisi city saw a peaceful protest rally in the center of the city.
Hundreds of people took to the main street Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi to protest the raid in Tbilisi’s popular night clubs.
Two bear cubs listed as endangered on the red list were handed over to Tbilisi Zoo,
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze and Deputy Tbilisi Mayor Ms. Sophio Khuntsaria have gifted a food stand
Pamela Anderson, famous Canadian American actress and model has appeared in the chic sunglasses by internationally acclaimed Georgian designer George Keburia.
A ski lift accident in Georgia’s eastern Gudauri resort,in particular at Sadzele 5 lift, has left 8 people with injuries.
The ski lift in Gudauri winter resort in Georgia has broke down in the aftermath of which several people have been injured.
GEL Exchange
December 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
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