ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
May
07

Georgia’s Economy Grows, Agriculture Shrinks: What Should We Do?

Since 2012, when the political party Georgian Dream took leadership of the country’s governance, economic [real] growth reached its highest rate in 2017 (5.0%). The drivers of this growth were construction (11.2%), hotels and restaurants (11.2%) and the financial sector (9.2%). However, a few sectors of the economy declined in 2017, and one was agriculture (-2.7%). Experts on this sector agree that 2017 was a “bad year” for Georgia’s agriculture. Winter lasted longer and spring frost damaged fruit plantations. This was followed by some periods of drought...
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Feb
26

Organic Is The New Black!

  Year by year, interest in the organic market is increasing all over the world. According to STATISTA, worldwide sales of organic food quintupled in the 21st century (18 billion USD in 2000, versus 90 billion USD in 2016), while, according to TechSci Research, the total worth of the market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.15% during the period 2017-2022. In fact, in some developed countries, the growth of supply of organic foods cannot keep up with the growth of demand (OCA, 2018), as the transition from conventio...
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Dec
25

Is Less, More? On “Usakhelauri” Wine

  This summer I bought a small piece of land (0.15ha) in the village of Okhureshi to grow a vineyard. About 700 “Usakhelauri” vine seedlings planted on that land in November this year will soon provide the most scarce and expensive grapes in Georgia. In just in a couple of years the vines will mature, and I will enjoy something as nice as the neighboring vineyard depicted in the photo. NO NAME… Usakhelauri is an ancient red-wine grape variety unique to Georgia. The grapes are cultivated in just a couple of villages in the Lechkhumi region (West Geor...
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Jul
03

Georgian Wool: Can It Become the “Golden Fleece” Again?

Back in 2014, Georgia and the European Union (EU) signed an Association Agreement, which included the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and Georgia. While this agreement creates new opportunities for Georgia’s agricultural exports, high food safety standards in the EU market make it difficult to fully utilize these opportunities. This is particularly true for products of animal origin, which are subject to strict regulations. The necessary standards were successfully met last year for Georgian wool (fleece), and it became the ...
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Jun
17

How Safe Is Your Food?

  Food safety has become an important aspect of agricultural policy for many countries (see, e.g., CAP). By definition, “Food safety refers to the conditions and practices that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination and foodborne illnesses.” In other words, food safety aims to protect the health of humans, animals and plants at every stage of the food production chain in conformance with the "farm-to-table” principle established by the EU. FOOD SAFETY IN GEORGIA On June 27, 2014, Georgia and the EU signed the Association Agreement (AA...
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May
13

Hunger Games: Speculation in Food Markets

In the old Soviet movie, “Once Upon a Time Twenty Years Later,” a mother of ten who bought a lot of clothing and food in a local shop was suspected of being a speculator by the shop administrator, who immediately called police as the woman left the shop. The woman survived arrest after it was discovered that she bought so many goods exclusively for her big family, and not for resale or so-called speculation. In Soviet times, the word “speculator” had an extremely negative meaning. People who were deemed to be speculators could be jailed if the allegation...
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