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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Irakli Kochlamazashvili has not set their biography yet
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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Mar
14

A Portrait of a Tushetian Farmer as an Entrepreneur

We first met Gogi Elanidze in winter 2015, when interviewing farmers in Rati’s village, Kvemo Alvani. Located in Akhmeta municipality, Kvemo Alvani and its twin, Zemo Alvani, are not your usual Kakhetian villages. The two serve as the winter base for the people of Tusheti, an isolated valley separated from Kakheti by the 3000m high Abano mountain pass. Getting settled. Kvemo Alvani’s rectangular shape and straight parallel streets betray a fairly recent, Soviet or...
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Nov
07

Georgian Tea: Finding New Strength in Unity?

After many years of chaos and utter collapse, Georgia’s once glorious tea industry is again showing signs of life. More and more individual farmers and businesses – mostly very small, but some quite ambitious, such as Geoplant (known for its “Gurieli” brand) – grow, process and pack tea. Despite competition from major producing countries and international brands, Georgian tea has great export potential because of the value attached to it all over the former Soviet Union.  While the potential is clearly there, it is not at all clear what strategy sho...
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