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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Irakli Kochlamazashvili has not set their biography yet
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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Sep
11

Empowering Georgian ‘Plow Mothers’ (Gutnis Deda)

“The lion's whelps are equal be they male or female” – Shota Rustaveli    Giving women voice in company management may prove beneficial for performance. For instance, according to an influential Catalyst report, The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards, “companies that achieve [gender] diversity and manage it well attain better financial results, on average, than other companies.” In particular, they find that firms with the most women board directors outperform those with the least on such indicator...
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Jul
17

Tea: a Potential Gold Mine of Georgian Agriculture?

The first tea bushes appeared in Western Georgia in 1847, and since then tea production has played a significant, yet widely unknown, role in Georgia’s history. The humid and subtropical climate of Western Georgia in the regions of Guria, Samegrelo, Adjara, Imereti and Abkhazia are ideal for harvesting tea, and this was a fact eventually recognized by businessmen outside Georgia. With a commission to produce tea in the country, Lao Jin Jao, an experienced tea farmer, arrived from China in 1893. By 1900, the tea he was producing was world-class in quality...
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Apr
06

Georgian Tangerines

The Estonian-Georgian film, Tangerines, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014. While the film was shot in Guria, the story takes place in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia during the war in the early 1990s. In the film, two of the main characters are peasants from Estonia who are living and working in Abkhazia, one as a tangerine grower and the other as a manufacturer of wooden crates for transporting tangerines to markets (much like the one in the photo above). Unlike their families and neighbors, these two men ...
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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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Nov
21

Agricultural Cooperatives Fishing for Competitiveness

Located in a beautiful gorge between Nabeghlavi and Bakhmaro, Chkhakaura village is home to tough Guruli trout fishermen. The village is difficult to reach even in a sturdy 4x4 SUV, but this does not prevent locals from taking advantage of dilapidated Soviet infrastructure and unique natural conditions to grow trout. They are five men, ages 20 to 45, who have been in joint trout farming business for more than 4 years, selling fish, roe and fry in the nearby Nabeghlavi and Bakhmaro villages. Nabeghlavi and Bakhmaro happen to be premier Georgian mineral wa...
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