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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
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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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Sep
19

What Do Politicians Promise Us: a Popular Guide to Political Platforms on Agriculture

“To win the people, always cook them some savory that pleases them.” ― Aristophanes, The Knights As the Election Day of October 8th approaches, we hear more and more about the platforms of Georgian political parties. Given that political competition is very fierce, one naturally expects to hear some blatantly populist statements – the kind of political promises (known to humanity from the times of Aristophanes) which are very popular among the voters, but are hard or impossible to implement in practice. Thus, for example, the reform of the tax syste...
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Jul
04

Will Restricting Food Imports Save Georgian Farmers?

On June 2, 2016 the second EU supported Farmers’ Congress of Georgia was held at the Tbilisi exposition center. Around 150 farmers from different parts of Georgia had an opportunity to meet with the government representatives and discuss current challenges of Georgian agriculture. The Congress mainly focused on three major issues for smallholders and cooperatives:  access to market, access to finance and potential impact of food security regulations. Farmers provided their own view on what type of trade policies the government should implement in or...
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