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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jan
23

Mandatory Flour Fortification in Georgia: a Boon or a Burden for the Poor?

We are what we eat – in the near future Georgians are likely to be reminded of this universal truth.   Soon the Georgian Parliament will be discussing a small but important change, which will affect something as significant and vital as bread, along with pasta, khachapuri and anything made with wheat flour. The Georgian legislators will be considering a law, according to which flour fortification will become mandatory in Georgia. Mandatory food fortification is a contentious issue. The proponents of the law argue that this change is a great way to d...
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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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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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Oct
17

Thin but Strong: Georgian Silk

DEEP ROOTS Silk production, or sericulture, has deep Georgian roots, going all the way back to King Vakhtang Gorgasali, who not only founded Tbilisi in the 5th century A.D. but also introduced Georgia to silk (and silkworms), which he brought from India.  Silk production is as rooted in Georgia as are wine and honey. According to a survey conducted in 1848, some 210,000 Georgian families were involved in silk production. The industry went into a deep crisis in 1860s, when the ancient Caucasian species of silkworm was practically wiped out by a disea...
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Oct
03

Georgian Wine: Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best

"You mean there's a catch?""Sure there's a catch", Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who [claims he is crazy because he] wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."Joseph Heller, Catch 22 Пока гром не грянет, мужик не перекрестится.Русская народная пословица   The Georgian wine industry had a couple of very good years in 2013 and 2014, following the opening of the Russian market. Exports skyrocketed, prices of grapes followed suit. For all the talk about diversification, within just two years, Russia’s share in the total exports o...
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