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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
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Nov
20

Asian Invasion: Stink Bug in Georgia

Nikoloz M., 65, from the Imeretian village of Jikhaishi, invested around 15,000 GEL into his 8.5 ha hazelnut orchard in 2012, hoping that one day his initiative would turn into a profitable business. Nikoloz was on his way to success up until this year, before the stink bug, or Asian pharosana, as Georgians call it, appeared in his orchard. While Nikoloz expected to harvest 800 kg – 1000 kg of hazelnuts per ha, the stink bug infestation reduced his harvest by 30-35%, resulting in a loss of more than 1,000 GEL per ha. For a rural household with average an...
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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
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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Mar
18

Rising Generation of Georgian Agripreneurs

According to the ILO’s Global Employment Trends Report, agriculture accounts for 32% of total employment globally, and 39% in Asia and the Pacific. In spite of this, it seldom tops young people’s “most wanted” wish list of careers. In developed countries like Korea and Australia, employment in the agricultural sector is gaining more and more popularity, however, moving back to the countryside in developing nations remains associated with poverty, inefficiency and lack of progress. In Georgia, the majority of the population is employed in agriculture, but...
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Feb
11

Is Lari Hitting Our Dinner Tables?

“The Arab Spring was a revolution of the hungry.” So stated The Boston Globe’s journalist Thanassis Cambanis in his 2011 article claiming that in countries where access to food was an issue, “hitting the dinner table” is not a good idea. In order to demonstrate the importance of food prices, he went even further, and reminded his readers that when food price inflation in Egypt reached almost 19%, the president of the country had to resign. Food price spikes like the grain price spike in 2007-2008 or some other shocks like currency depreciation, can lead ...
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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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