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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Oct
16

Strong Leader = Successful Team?!

The cooperative movement in Georgia started back in 2013 with EU support, through the launching of the ENPARD project, a major component of which is the development of agricultural cooperatives across Georgia. According to the Agricultural Cooperatives Development Agency, there are 1,500 agricultural cooperatives in Georgia, and more than 250 of them have been supported by the ENPARD program (for locations of these cooperatives see the map). Not all those newborn cooperatives will be successful, and their sustainability depends on many factors. THE THEOR...
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May
29

Higher Equality for Higher Growth

Back in 12th century, one of the greatest Georgians, Shota Rustaveli, was writing about equal rights for men and women in his poem. Do we share his ideas today? The Georgian constitution has a guarantee of gender equality in the country. Accordingly, men and woman have equal rights to land ownership, and the right to inherit land is same for both sexes. However, in Georgia, as in many developing countries, land ownership issues are very much influenced by cultural values. Georgian traditions make it less likely that land will be inherited by the daughter...
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Apr
24

Working Together for a Bigger Pie

  The village of Chkhakaura is located en route to the famous Bakhmaro resort in the Gurian Mountains. This settlement is not only in a picturesque environment, but also the home of hard-working people, some of whom we introduced in our success story about the agricultural cooperative “Samegobro 2014”. Since their registration as a formal cooperative back in 2014, this group of fish farmers is becoming increasingly successful. The cooperative is well-linked to local markets, both with regards to purchasing equipment and inputs (a “backward” linkage...
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Apr
12

Joint Marketing – A Key to Success?!

COOPERATIVES IN GEORGIA: AN OVERVIEW Back in 2013, the Government of Georgia (GoG) approved a new law entitled “On Agricultural Cooperatives.” The primary goal of this legislation was to support agriculture and rural development in the country by strengthening agricultural cooperatives. Since then, agricultural cooperatives have been springing up like mushrooms; 13,000 farmers have already been registered in 1,500 cooperatives. In order to strengthen their capacity, donors led by the European Union have been providing financial assistance as well as trai...
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Oct
31

To Cut or Not to Cut? Shifting Government Priorities and the Uncertain Future of Georgian Agricultural Cooperatives

“I cannot see any use [for the cooperative I have set up] if I cannot find anywhere [someone] willing to lend us money” Spanish Priest – 1908 (Cited in Garrido, S. 20071) THE GEORGIAN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR AND THE POTENTIAL ROLE OF AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVES The Republic of Georgia was among the fastest Former Soviet Union countries to implement a large scale land reform and land redistribution plan, starting in 1992. Land redistribution resulted in the formation of hundreds of thousands of small family farms, replacing large-scale collectives and productio...
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Oct
24

The Shortest Road to Strawberry Field Isn’t Always the Sweetest, or Quickest

Nino Kvirkvelia and her husband Irakli Todua are not exactly your typical Georgian smallholders. Both spouses are well-educated (both hold economics and business degrees from reputable Georgian institutions). More importantly in the context of Georgian agriculture, the couple owns 28(!) hectare of arable land in Georgia’s horticultural heaven, Samegrelo, best known for its hazelnuts. This is a fantastic amount considering that the average size of agricultural plots in Georgia is only slightly above 1ha. A natural born entrepreneur, Irakli was among the f...
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