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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Oct
24

The Shortest Road to Strawberry Field Isn’t Always the Sweetest, or Quickest

Nino Kvirkvelia and her husband Irakli Todua are not exactly your typical Georgian smallholders. Both spouses are well-educated (both hold economics and business degrees from reputable Georgian institutions). More importantly in the context of Georgian agriculture, the couple owns 28(!) hectare of arable land in Georgia’s horticultural heaven, Samegrelo, best known for its hazelnuts. This is a fantastic amount considering that the average size of agricultural plots in Georgia is only slightly above 1ha. A natural born entrepreneur, Irakli was among the f...
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Jul
04

Will Restricting Food Imports Save Georgian Farmers?

On June 2, 2016 the second EU supported Farmers’ Congress of Georgia was held at the Tbilisi exposition center. Around 150 farmers from different parts of Georgia had an opportunity to meet with the government representatives and discuss current challenges of Georgian agriculture. The Congress mainly focused on three major issues for smallholders and cooperatives:  access to market, access to finance and potential impact of food security regulations. Farmers provided their own view on what type of trade policies the government should implement in or...
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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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Recent Comments
Irakli Kochlamazashvili
A good case on second level (or second-tier) cooperative from Peru: http://ica.coop/en/media/co-operative-stories/peruvian-coopera... Read More
Tuesday, 10 November 2015 7:07 PM
Irakli Kochlamazashvili
Those outstanding players of the industry (like Giorgi and Avto) might be given a special status/share in the cooperatives to give... Read More
Sunday, 08 November 2015 1:01 PM
Eric Livny
Thanks for your comment, Irakli! My sense is that processors could be included in a growers cooperative as associated members. The... Read More
Tuesday, 10 November 2015 3:03 PM
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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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Pati Mamardashvili
So, people of Guria not only have the greatest sense of humor (as commonly known in Georgia) but also seem to be very entrepreneur... Read More
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 6:06 PM
Eric Livny
A great point, Pati. Trying and failing is a great experience!
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 7:07 PM
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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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Mar
26

What Happens When Institutions are Designed to Provide Bullet-proof Protection against Fraud?

DESIGNING LIBRARIES  “Shock and awe” is a US military term describing the use of overwhelming power to demoralize the enemy, as applied by the American military in Iraq. “Shock and awe” would also aptly describe my emotional state when I entered, at the age of 23, the magnificent reading room at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. This was the moment when I – a former paratrooper and an officer with one of Israel’s security services – understood how badly I want to acquire an education. Not technical knowledge or skills, but an education.    ...
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Guest — Simon Appleby
Co-op size of 3-5 members makes perfect sense for the current Georgian reality. People related by blood or marriage, who have long... Read More
Thursday, 26 March 2015 3:03 PM
Guest — Nikita
Coop growth diagnosticsCan you answer the following questions?1. Why do Georgian farmers form coops? Do they want to grow their bu... Read More
Friday, 27 March 2015 5:05 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Thanks for asking these questions, Nikita... I like the approach of tacking the so-called binding constraint(s), which would of co... Read More
Friday, 27 March 2015 7:07 PM
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