The particular importance of agriculture in Ukraine is so strong that it has been suggested by some that it is reflected in the country's flag; the golden yellow field of wheat sits beneath a blue sky, said to be a common sight in rural Ukraine.

Despite the fact that the country remains locked in conflict with separatist militia factions and much of its eastern territory has been torn apart by combat, the government is still attempting to enact reforms, and agriculture has not gone ignored.

To this end, ISET's Pati Mamardashvili travelled to Kiev to participate in the Days of Agricultural Economics, which consisted of two consecutive events: the 155th EAAE Seminar, entitled “European Agriculture towards 2030 Perspectives for further East-West Integration” ,and the 7th International Conference on "Large Farm Management”.

Despite being a predominantly rural country, Georgia suffers from extensive issues related to agricultural development. To this end, ENPARD, a European Union rural development program, has assisted with the establishment of a number of cooperatives throughout the country. The success stories of two of these prompted a recent visit by members of the Agricultural Policy Research Centre.

On 14th of September, Irakli Kochlamazishvili, Nino Kakulia and Daviti Zhorzholiani of the APRC visited the CARE Consortium office under the ENPARD project in Samtredia in the Imereti region to discuss the results of the Monitoring and Evaluation System survey and to receive the latest updates regarding the issues agriculture cooperatives face. Later that day, due to their good performances and financial and market figures, the trio visited two enterprises - Guriis Tkhili and Fermeri-2015 - to learn about their success stories.

On Wednesday, September 7, ISET hosted Dr. Jon Hanf, Head of the Wine Economics Program at Geisenheim University, Germany, who spoke about the prospects of Georgian wine in the highly competitive German market.

Dr. Hanf started his presentation by stating the obvious – the world market is saturated with wine as global supply steadily exceeds demand by more than 30 million hectoliters. Cutthroat competition results in average prices remaining extremely low, way below Georgian production costs. The German market – the largest and perhaps one of the most competitive wine markets in the world – is a good case in point. For example, very reasonable wines offered by major German discounters, such as Aldi and Lidl (controlling more than 35% of total wine sales in Germany) retail about 1,90-2 Euro per bottle. Premium wines average 8-9 Euro. For comparison, Georgian wines attempt to enter the German market at 12-15 Euro per bottle, way above competition.

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