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Moving Forward: Sheep Sector Challenges Discussed at the ALCP Advisory Committee Meeting

Management of Animal Movement Route (AMR) and Bio Security Points (BSPs) were the main topics discussed at the ALCP’s 9th Advisory Committee meeting on January 31st, 2018.

The Minister of Agriculture highlighted the importance of AMR and its Bio Security Points, their importance in underpinning  animal healthcare and livestock export and the need for continued efforts to ensure progress in his opening speech.

‘Despite the positive dynamics there are still challenges and the governmental, non-governmental and private sectors should consolidate to overcome them’ - stated Mr. Davitashvili.

Existing gaps in management as well as the positive impact of BSPs were highlighted  at the meeting.  A short film: What shepherds think about the BSP’s available at ALCP/Videos allowed shepherds views to be presented in full.

All participants debated responsibility for managing the AMR and its infrastructure. Land overlaps, lack of resting areas, watering points at the Route, issues of concern for decades - were also discussed.

‘I think inclusion of self-governments in provision of BSPs’ operation is quite possible, local residents can be hired there and I’m ready to discuss this issue with the heads of local municipalities of Kvemo Kartli” - Grigol Nemsadze - The State Representative-Governor of KK Region.

As a result of this meeting the Regional Government of Kvemo Kartli and the Ministry of Economy have agreed to work together for final resolution of contested land on the route. Existing infrastructural gaps at BSP’s will be also solved in time for spring season, stated  the Head of the NFA. With regards to BSP’s management and its future ownership the issue is clearly on the table for further facilitation and discussion with all interested parties to find the best solution and develop pertinent strategy going forward.

OTHER NEWS
23/01/2019
Watershed for Dairy Sector in Georgia

A presentation of a new ‘Georgian Milk’ mark was held on the 22nd of January at Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi.

Up to 150 dairy enterprises and representatives of supermarkets, agri markets, sectoral associations and Government Agencies participated in the meeting.

The new ‘Georgian Milk’mark will distinguish dairy products made from natural raw milk. The ‘Georgian Milk’ mark will be found only on dairy products produced from Georgian natural raw milk and which do not contain milk powder and/or any vegetable oils. The purpose of the mark is to promote products made from Georgian natural raw milk, which will help consumers make informed decisions while buying milk and other dairy products. A recent large national consumer survey by the Caucasus Research Resource Centre of urban consumers across Georgia showed that consumers want to be able to buy ‘ecologically clean’ dairy products, meaning clean milk that comes from healthy grass fed cattle and dairy products produced in clean regulated enterprises. The research found that the majority of consumers had difficulty in identifying or being able to buy such products as these products are currently undifferentiated in shops. The ‘Georgian Milk’ mark will therefore solve this problem.

18/01/2019
Do’s and Don’ts Antibiotic Use Infographic

The ALCP facilitated the Georgian Beekeepers Union to develop infographic regards Do’s and Don’ts Antibiotic Use, providing guidelines for the beekeepers on proper usage of antibiotics and preventing honey and beeswax from contamination with the antibiotics. The full version of the infographic is available here.   

                         

26/12/2018
Agri Journalism Spreads

On December 26th, the Journalism Resource Centre presented its second edition of the agri journalism module. About hundred guests from the government, business and academic sphere attended the event.

The Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, Levan Davitashvili stated: ‘I am very glad to hear about all the initiatives related to agri journalism. Education is very important in agriculture for ensuring information dissemination for farmers. The door of the Minister of Agriculture is open for you at any time and our partnership with regional media is very important.’

The agri module was created for inclusion in BA in journalism degrees. Now, ten universities across Georgia have the agri journalism module established in their curriculum, lasting one semester with a total of 15 credit hours. Four more universities are about to do the same this year. 369 students have undergone the course in Georgia to date. Now those initiatives are ready for transfer to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

During the event, the Journalism Resource Centre awarded farmers and specialists within the agricultural sector. The Best Female Farmer of the Year award was given to beekeeper Mariam Kiladze; the Best Vet of the Year was Giorgi Tcikhelashvili from Dmanisi, he is 25 years-old who graduated from the Vet Department at Agrarian University and went back to Dmanisi and is working as a vet. The Best Male Farmer award was given to shepherd Giorgi Imerlishvili. Credo and the EBRD were recognized as financial institutions that supports agriculture, and SDC Project Mercy Corps Alliances Caucasus Programme for supporting agri media journalism.

At the end of the event, the Journalism Resource Centre announced the establishment of the Agro Guild, which unites journalists and media organizations, businesses, farmers, public officials, and universities and sets up annual or bi-annual advisory committees. The members of media associations and the JRC also announced that they are planning to establish an Agri TV program, the pilot of which will start in three months.

Follow this link for additional news regarding the event.

12/11/2018
First Commercial Harvesting of Jara honey

For the first time ever, twenty Jara producers have sold their entire crop of Jara to a commercial enterprise. Jara honey will soon be available in shops in Georgia.

See photos below. 

04/10/2018
A New Veterinary Surveillance Point in Bolnisi

The construction of a new Veterinary Surveillance Point has recently started in Bolnisi municipality. The works will be finished in December 2018. The point will be the six and final point in the Veterinary Surveillance network throughout the Animal Movement Route. 

During five transhumance seasons in 2016-2018 total 1.4 million heads of sheep and cattle were treated against ecto-parasites free of charge at all operational Veterinary Surveillance Points in Rustavi, Marneuli, Signagi, Dedoplistskaro and Kvareli municipalities.

04/09/2018
Second Win for Jara

The Georgian documentary Jara was named as the Best Feature Film at the Wolves Independent International Film Festival 2018. Nature, heritage, environment, history, culture, ethnography, adventure, wildlife, indigenous cultures and social issues are the main themes of the festival which takes place in Lithuania.

It is the second award for Jara following Golden Green Award 2018 at the Deauville Green Awards International Film Festival, for the best production in the category of Sustainable Agriculture

Jara was premiered by EcoFilms in Tbilisi in 2017. The main backer of Jara was the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through the Mercy Corps Georgia implemented Alliances Caucasus Programme (ALCP) within a consortium of public bodies and conservation organizations including World Wildlife Fund and Caucasus Nature Fund.

LATEST NEWS
The Georgian Milk Mark Cheese at the Georgian Cheese and Wine Evening
20/12/2019
On 16th of December 2019, the Georgian Milk mark organized a Georgian Cheese and Wine evening at 8000 Vintages to introduce cheese with Georgian Milk mark (GMM) to the supermarkets and encouraged them to pass information on the advantages of GMM cheese to consumers. Cheese with Georgian Milk mark does not contain milk powder or any vegetable oils, it has laboratory analysis and is produced in the enterprises which are HACCP certified. The Guests had the opportunity to taste different types of cheese made from natural raw milk produced by thirteen enterprises: Milken Ltd, Tsintskaro + Ltd, I.E Hakob Hambaryan, I.E Karen Simonyan, I.E Tsolak Grigoryan, Tsifora –Smatskhe Ltd, Tsalka +Ltd, Dairy Products Company Tsezari Ltd, Gocha Gagashvili – brand name Tsivis Kveli, Levan Bejanishvili-brand name Shuamta, Badri Gogoladze – brand name Cheese Hut, Coop. Tanadgoma, Coop. Disvelli. The Information per enterprise is available on www.georgianmilk.ge. The website allows consumers to look up the products they are buying using a unique register number printed on a label. The evening of Georgian Cheese and Wine was attended by Mr. Levan Davitashvili, the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Project Alliances Caucasus Program (ALCP) implemented by Mercy Corps, Georgian Milk Mark Project Administrator - Business Institute of Georgia and Marketing Company GMA Representative, the supermarkets and the dairies using the Georgian Milk mark. The evening was headed by Zaza Grigalashvili, an '8000 Vintages' Sommelier, who spoke about Georgian cheese and wine pairing. Helen Bradbury, ALCP Team Leader: ‘We have private sector cheese enterprises in the room from different regions, these are a real dairy businesses operating for years and years. It is very important that this is Georgian Milk from Georgian cows who eat Georgian grass. Consumers want to eat natural, healthy, good country food which comes from this beautiful land, from this beautiful clean water, from happy cows and are made in communities living in countryside.  Today we are at 8000 Vintages and we all know the history of wine. If you want ‘Qvevri’ wine or European style wine we know from where it comes from its name and the consumer can choose according wine value and its good for the producer, they can add more value and then this value goes back to the jobs, factories in the communities. So in the dairy sector it is going to be the same: as cheese will have the name, taste, value, style and its started to develop, the money supporting these factories goes back to women who are supplying milk, their families, they are putting money to their children education and investing in their life'.  Levan Davitashvili, The Minister of MEPA: ‘I think the most difficult sector in Georgia is adairy sector and we have a lot to do together. A good presentation of a final product the market and how we bring cheese to the consumer is very important. We can say that competition between the enterprises is unfair, but we work on this via new the regulations to change the situation in the sector, we also empower our laboratories to have better quality and safe products. Today we have Georgian Milk mark presentation which is a very good idea for providing information to the consumers about dairy products, which also gives advantages to producer'. The Products with the mark are available in Madagoni, Spar, Ori Nabiji, Nikora, Zgapari, Fresco, Carrefour, and Goodwill supermarket chains.
The Georgian Milk Mark dairies at the Cheese and Hot Drinks Festival
11/11/2019
Tsintskaro + and Tsipora-Samtskhe dairy products with the Georgian Milk Mark were introduced at the Cheese and Hot Drinks Festival organized by Anna Mikadze – Chikvaidze, the Head of Cheese Producers Guild and held at the Mtatsminda Park on 10th of November, 2019. The visitors tasted cheese and received information about the Georgian Milk mark.   ‘What makes this festival important is to introduce cheese with the Georgian Milk mark, which says to consumers that cheese is made from natural raw milk’ -  stated Anna Mikadze - Chikvaidze. Currently seven dairy enterprises are using the Georgian Milk mark: Milkeni; Tsintskaro +; Tsipora –Samtskhe; Cheese Hut; Tsezari; Tsivis Kveli; Shuamta. Products with the mark are available in Madagoni, Spar, Ori Nabiji, Nikora, Zgapari, Fresco, Carrefour, and Goodwill supermarket chains. Information per enterprise is uploaded on www.georgianmilk.ge. This allows consumers to look up the products they are buying using a unique register number printed on the label.
Unofficial AMR route in Shiraki Pastures Officially Registered
07/11/2019
A 22 km  route in Shiraki pastures, Dedoplistskaro municipality has received the status of becoming part of the official Animal Movement Route (AMR) last week. The unofficial route, which had been used for livestock seasonal migration for decades, had not been officially registered as the AMR before. As a result of a joint effort between the  ALCP  the Shepherds Association, The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA), the National Agency of State Property and the Ministry of Economy & Sustainable Development, the route  and297 ha land, is now officially registered as the AMR by National Agency of Public Registry of Georgia. The section of the route is now protected from saleas according current regulations, AMR land  is not allowed to be sold or rented. A water point located in this area will be restored soon as well, within the planned Water Point’s project of the ALCP and MEPA.
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