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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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Jan
29

Earth Is not Cool, It Is Getting Hotter!!!

Did you know that: • the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years? • average wildlife populations have dropped by 60% in just over 40 years (60% between 1970 and 2014)? • every year, nearly 1 million hectares (larger than New York City) of coastal ecosystems are destroyed? • in the past 20 years, 4.2 billion people have been affected by weather-related disasters, including a significant loss of lives? These and other broader changes such as rising sea levels, accelerating ice melt, shifting seasons, etc.  occurring on earth are...
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Dec
30

Food Prices are on Fire

In November 2019, prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, as measured by the Food Price Index (FPI), drastically increased by 13.4% compared to November 2018 and contributed 4.02 percentage points to the change in the total Consumer Price Index (CPI). In recent months, annual food inflation marked at its highest level since August 2011 (Figure 1).1 Figure 1: Annual Food Price Inflation (January 2010-November 2019) Prices increased for all sub-categories of food and non-alcoholic beverages. The largest price increases were observed for fruits and gr...
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Jun
24

How Can You Be Sure? On the Agricultural Insurance in Georgia

  BACKGROUND Agricultural production is associated with a variety of risks, including market, institutional, and production risks. An important production factor in agriculture is the weather. Its uncontrollable nature makes weather risk the prevailing risk to agricultural production. Farmers have various informal and formal means of transferring and mitigating these risks. Informal means include savings, diversification, off-farm activities, etc. The most common formal means of risk mitigation is insurance. Insurance is a contract that transfers th...
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Nov
26

What Does Not Kill you… or the Story of Hazelnuts

On November 15, 2018, the Agricultural Policy Research Center (APRC) presented the results of its “Study on Private Service Providers in the Organic Hazelnut Value Chain in Georgia” to stakeholders. The event was organized by HEKS-EPER South Caucasus, the ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI), and PAKKA AG, a Swiss holding. BACKGROUND Hazelnuts have historically been one of the main crops in terms of economic value for Georgia as the country is located in the Black Sea coastal area, which has suitable soil and climate conditions for the growth of hazelnuts. In...
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Jun
11

Sweet Little Lies – Things That Make Us “Happy”

  On May 17, 2017, the Georgian government adopted amendments to the Tobacco Control Law with 85 votes in favor, and only one against. This highly debated new regulation, which bans smoking in public places, was initiated by Parliament member Ms. Guguli Maghradze who just recently discussed the obesity problem in Georgia, which is caused partly by excess sugar consumption. Georgian public which is familiar with statements turning into law considered Ms. Maghradze’s statement as a prelude to enacting a sugar tax in Georgia. During the informal interv...
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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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