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Jara Beekeeping Brings Hope: Vazha’s Story

 

Fifty-seven years old Vazha Kedelidze from Kedlebi Village, Khulo is one of ten students who enrolled in the beekeeping programme at Akhali Talgha vocational college in August.

Vazha retired from his position as a fireman five years ago. Soon after, his wife had a severe injury that left her unable to take care of their farm. As Vazha says, beekeeping is now the mainstay of his family. His beekeeper friend helped him to arrange an apiary of twenty hives.

I discovered that beekeeping is a philosophy on its own. Sometimes I sit for hours and observe bees working. I am trying to understand the process.’- Vazha says.

As a beginner beekeeper, Vazha is striving for knowledge and struggling to gain comprehensive information, as internet sources are not targeted to beginner beekeepers and he needed something hands on. He then heard about the beekeeping course at the Akhali Talgha VET collegein Khulo.

‘I do not know curriculum details yet, but I am sure I will get answers to my questions and I am looking forward to starting the learning process.’ – Says Vazha.

Vazha was even more surprised when he found out a Jara beekeeping module:

‘I had heard about Jara from villagers and television. It is a fascinating and very unique tradition. Last year, I even made six Jara hives and could not proceed further due to a lack of knowledge. So, I am glad that I will learn more about this traditional beekeeping.’ – Says Vazha.

Akhali Talga VET college in Ajara is the first college in Georgia to have integrated Jara teaching in their beekeeping programme. They will teach the integrated programme from this semester to twenty-eight students.

In total, there are ten VET colleges in Georgia with either a two month or one-year beekeeping course. The Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU), along with the Jara Beekeepers Association (JBA),  is now facilitating the integration of Jara module into beekeeping programmes of these ten colleges in cooperation with the sectoral skills organization Agro Duo and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia. The JBA developed the Jara Honey Production Handbook: for Beekeeping Programmes at VET Colleges.

Jara is traditional wild beekeeping, rarely practiced nowadays, except for remote dwellings located in the subtropical and alpine zones of Western Georgia, namely, Ajara, emphasizing the importance of co-existence between humans and wild nature. It is a family activity led by a family head, with strong roots in traditional agriculture practice, culture and a way of living as a whole. That makes Jara unique. However, due to a limited market, it was nearly fading outback in 2014 when the ALCP found out about it, and this is when the Jara journey began. It is now growing in 2018 the first commercial Jara harvest was 500kg it is now over 3 tonnes. Twenty-three Jara beekeepers are now Bio Certified and many people such as Vazha are anxious to start. Jara is a high value product with very strong demand it retails for 90 Gel/kg.

OTHER NEWS
21/02/2019
First Time: Packaged Jara Honey

Jara honey, collected from the local beekeepers in Ajara, has been officially branded and packaged for the first time. It is now ready to enter the international markets. 

9/02/2019
Breakthrough Legislation for Honey Sector

On 8th of November, 2018, the Government of Georgia adopted regulation #525, which forbids registration of the vet drugs containing prohibited antibiotics, like, chloramphenicol, metronidazole, dimetridazole, ronidazole, nitrofuran (including furazolidonewhich are widely used in beekeeping. The regulation entered into force on 1st of January, 2019 and was nationally covered by the media outlets. The regulation was proposed by the Veterinary Department of the NFA, after this constraint was raised at the first Honey Sector Advisory Committee on 22nd of June, 2018, which brought together honey stakeholders to discuss tackling the high levels of antibiotic residues in honey which are limiting the development of the honey sector. 

                                         

8/02/2019
Veterinary Surveillance Points in OIE publication

An article about Veterinary Surveillance Points (VSP) has been published in a quarterly bulletin of OIE – the World Organization for Animal Health. The article covers topics on the tradition of livestock seasonal movement in Georgia, the necessity of establishing VSPs and the importance of the points in animal health control throughout the country. The author of the publication is the Head of the Veterinary Department of the National Food Agency and the OIE Delegate of Georgia - Lasha Avaliani.

Please follow the link: Oiebulletin/veterinary-surveillance-points

06/02/2019
It’s official: the ‘Georgian Milk’ Mark Registered

The ‘Georgian Milk’ mark has been registered in the National Intellectual Property Centre of Georgia - Saqpatenti. The mark is now protected to avoid falsification and strengthen the ownership of Business Institute of Georgia, an independent body which will regularly audit dairies granted license to use the mark.

Eighteen dairy enterprises have already applied to use the mark.

The new ‘Georgian Milk’ mark will distinguish dairy products made from natural raw milk.

Information per enterprise will be published online on a www.georgianmilk.ge website which will come online at beginning of March. This will allow consumers to look up the products they are buying using a unique register number printed on the label.

A national promotion campaign conducted by GMA international marketing company to introduce the mark to the public and retailers will be rolled out from the end of next month.


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 of Antibiotic Use

The ALCP facilitated the Georgian Beekeepers Union to develop infographic regards Do’s and Don’ts of 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.

                     

                     

LATEST NEWS
Continuous Teaching from the GBU
30/05/2021
On May 27th-28th, more than two thousand beekeepers in all regions of Georgia attended a training on bee treatment practices as a response to the massive bee colonies collapse this year. The Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU) initiated and advocated the first nationwide trainings with the Rural Development Agency (RDA) based on the online research data gathered. The GBU developed a trainer’s handbook and Varroa Treatment guideline, which was translated and available for Azerbaijani and Armenian beekeepers; and delivered a Training of Trainers for eighty-five beekeepers.  ‘Beekeepers received important information about new methodology how to treat Varroa. This was the first training organized in coordination with the GBU, which is the main actor in the beekeeping sector and our collaboration will continue.’ – Lasha Shalamberidze, the Head of the Regional Relations Department at the RDA. ‘I think, a key outcome of these trainings is that our Union expanded its team across Georgia. We now have the representatives in each municipality and we will continue teaching and delivering important information to the beekeepers.’ – Aleko Papava, the Head of the GBU.
A New Veterinary Surveillance Point in Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region
26/05/2021
A seventh Veterinary Surveillance Point (VSP) of the National Food Agency (NFA) opened recently in Dusheti municipality to serve nomadic farmers migrating on the north part of the Animal Movement Route of Georgia. This is the first and the only VSP in Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, where disinfection of sheep and cattle against ecto-parasites is provided by the State. Up to 100,000 head of sheep will be dipped there during every transhumance season, free of charge. The point was constructed by the NFA following the petition of shepherds from the region at the ALCP’s 11th Advisory Committee meeting and was approved by the Minister of Environmental Protection & Agriculture – Levan Davitashvili in March 2019, based on the positive benefits of the existing points. In 2015 the VSP model was created by the ALCP commissioned British livestock expert Edward Hamer and an MOU was signed between the Ministry of Agriculture, the NFA and the ALCP to construct six VSPs, two of them were financed by the programme and four by the State. In 2016-2018 all six points were finalized and opened. This year additional water points were also opened on the route. The VSP’s record and monitor the nomadic sheep and cattle population and underpin Georgia’s credibility in livestock export markets.
Where the streets are paved with gold: Georgian Honey Goes to London
24/05/2021
As Dick Whittington found out the London streets are not literally paved with gold. However four Georgian honey companies are participating in a celebration of the liquid kind. The London International Honey Awards held from May 30-31st, have two main award categories: quality and design, and feature honeys from all over the world, from Canada to the Mediterranean to New Zealand and everything in between. Competition is fierce. The four Georgian honey companies, Nena, Rukhi Queen, Honey and Irinola Company and Cooperative Kodi, were supported to participate by the Embassy of Georgia to the UK and the Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU). 
LATEST PUBLICATIONS
Quality Assurance Standards for the Production of Jara Honey
Honey Sector Development 2017-2020
Productivity in ALCP Dairy Supply - Impact Assessment