ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Dec
17

Two Heads – One Public, One Private – Are Better Than One

Back in October 2015, a team of ISET researchers visited Charity House Catharsis to donate food on World Food Day, celebrated around the globe on October 16th. Catharsis was founded in 1990 and provides daily dinner to 310 elderly in need. Although the major function of the charity house is to provide food, Catharsis also offers other services like medical assistance, a relaxation room, chapel, rehabilitation hall, library and café. According to Elene Cucqiridze, one of the managers of Catharsis, the NGO a joint effort of government and the private secto...
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Nov
26

Professionals for Georgian Agriculture

  Recently, the ISET Economist Blog wrote about the cooperative “Shamatia.” Their strawberry seedlings started to fade soon after planting. The cooperative consulted with different experts in the country to find the reason, and the solution for the problem, without success. Only after sending sample seedlings abroad was the cause of the problem revealed. In the meantime, however, the cooperative experienced losses of 15,000 GEL. Such cases are not rare in Georgian agriculture. Recent value chain studies conducted by the ISET Policy Institute indica...
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Nov
12

Thinking Forward through the Past

Under the Soviet system, farmers worked under strong central control; everyone knew what to do. Important economic decisions were not left to the market, or decided by self-interested individuals. Instead, the government, which owned or controlled much of the economy’s resources, decided what, when and how to produce. Along with providing necessary inputs, the state ensured that farmers had access to markets for their goods. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, state-provided coordination was abolished. The newly shaped market system brought a lot of ...
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Nov
30

Innovation Starts Here and Now … In Lisi Lake Greenhouses

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.  -John Maynard Keynes- Innovation is not necessarily about Silicon Valley Hi-Tech startups. It can happen here and now. In particular, contrary to what we have been hearing from our liberal politicians, there is plenty of scope for innovation in Georgia’s agriculture! Owned and managed by Nina Petrova-Dzneladze, Lisi Lake Greenhouses is a family farm located on 0.6ha of land in Tbilisi. The complex consists of three medium size greenhouses producing fruit and ...
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Sep
26

Georgian Farmers Playing Russian Roulette

On August 20, 2015 a strong hailstorm hit Georgia, devastating crops and infrastructure in eastern Kakheti. In Kvareli alone, the hailstorm destroyed about 1,300ha of Saperavi and 1,000ha of Rkatsiteli grapes, affecting more than 500 families. This was only one in a string of natural disasters striking Georgian farmers in recent years. One of the worst calamities occurred in July 2012, when heavy rain, strong winds, hail and floods damaged thousands of hectares of arable land in Kakheti, ripping roofs and destroying vital infrastructure.   Whil...
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Mar
30

Does it Make Sense to Subsidize Smallholder Georgian Agriculture, and if so How?

While Georgia never faced anything like a wartime food crisis, the agricultural policies implemented by the Georgian Dream coalition government in 2013-2015 did not lack in ambition, seeking to make up for more than a decade of “active neglect” of Georgia’s smallholder agriculture by the Saakashvili administration. In this piece, we take a critical look at one of the first government initiatives, the Agricultural Card Program, introduced in February 2013.  According to the then Minister of Agriculture David Kirvalidze, the program aimed to “revive G...
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