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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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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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Mar
30

Does it Make Sense to Subsidize Smallholder Georgian Agriculture, and if so How?

While Georgia never faced anything like a wartime food crisis, the agricultural policies implemented by the Georgian Dream coalition government in 2013-2015 did not lack in ambition, seeking to make up for more than a decade of “active neglect” of Georgia’s smallholder agriculture by the Saakashvili administration. In this piece, we take a critical look at one of the first government initiatives, the Agricultural Card Program, introduced in February 2013.  According to the then Minister of Agriculture David Kirvalidze, the program aimed to “revive G...
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