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VET Colleges to Teach Jara Wild Honey Production

On October 8th, the Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU) hosted representatives of thirteen VET colleges from across Georgia and sectoral skills organization Agro Duo in Tbilisi. The meeting occasioned the integration of Jara honey production as a topic in VET college beekeeping programmes, something that the Georgian Beekeepers Union have been facilitating over the last year.

The participants received the Jara Honey Production Handbook and Bio Certification Guidelines for Beekeepers; and were introduced to two new websites www.honeyofgeorgia.com and www.jarahoney.com and a honey promotion video Discover Georgia: The Land of the Oldest Honey.

This year Akhali Talga VET College in Kobuleti and Khulo integrated the Jara materials into their one-year beekeeping programme in which twenty-eight beekeeper students are attending. At the meeting, Akhali Talga VET College shared their experience of successfully integrating the Jara materials into their beekeeping programme.

‘I had many calls before and after the meeting and I can say that the interest from the colleges is very high. We will provide support required and I am sure from the next year there will be more programmes with the Jara materials and improved content.’ – Aleko Papava, the Head of the GBU.

At the beginning of the meeting, the GBU and sectoral skills organization Agro Duo signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to work together to integrate Jara materials into the beekeeping programmes in all VET colleges in Georgia.

Jara is traditional wild beekeeping producing unique and pure honey rarely practiced nowadays, except for remote dwellings located in the subtropical and alpine zone of Georgia. However, for the first time in decades Jara production is being practiced again by new beekeepers or taken up again by those who had stopped. In 2018 the Jara Beekeepers Association was formed to represent producer interest and in the country first, twenty-three Jara beekeepers in Ajara have received Bio certification. Jara honey was commercially harvested and branded for the first time in 2018 and since then the market for Jara honey has grown in strength which is why the producers decided to become Bio Certified to further increase the value of their product. The Jara honey mark was registered this year to further protect this culturally important product 

OTHER NEWS
1/02/2018
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.

08/12/2017
Jara Popularity Spreads

On December 5th  the National Geographic Magazine Georgia presented its latest  edition which features an article on Jara honey, at the National Museum of Georgia. About hundred guests tasted Jara honey  and watched a special screening of  the Jara movie, which had originally inspired the Georgian National Geographic to do the Georgian bee and honey story.

‘We were thinking about doing an article on Georgian Bees and honey, but we were not certain what direction to choose. One day, I got a call from Nika Tsiklauri, who invited me to the Jara premiere and while watching this truly fairytale, – I discovered the storyline we had been looking for’. – Natia Khuluzauri, Editor in Chief of the National Geographic Magazine Georgia.

The movie Director, Nika Tsiklauri, did a photo session of the Jara hives in Ajara. The magazine story writer, Irakli Pipia, enthusiastically worked on the topic and in addition came across documentation that showed that the Caucasian Gray Bees had been exported to the USA from Georgia atthe end of the 19th century.

‘This was a discovery none of us expected. Who knew that the Caucasian Bee had travelled so far? So, both authors, Nika and Irakli, did a great job and we have this beautiful elaborated story covering practically all aspects related to the Caucasian Gray Bee and honey they make’ – says Natia.

The event opened an exhibition of photos, Jara hives and beekeeping artifacts from Ajara. The Ajarian Beekeepers Business Association gave attendees a unique opportunity to taste recently harvested Jara wild honey from its members and personally explore traditional Jara hives and beekeeping handicrafts.

Photo Source: The National Geographic Georgia 

26/10/2017
New Bio Security Point in Kvareli Opened

A new Bio Security Point (BSP) has been opened by the Minister of Agriculture of Georgia on in Kakheti, Telavi municipality. It is the fifth point now open on the

 Animal Movement Route along with the BSP’s in Marneuli, Rustavi, Dedoplistskaro and Signagi municipalities and the third point built by the government in addition to the two points built under the ALCP as part of the activities agreed between the government and the project.

‘We are conducting complex works for supporting sheep and cattle sector development and one of the most important components of this work are identification &registration of official Animal Movement Route and a proper management of it. We now have five BSP and this helps us to manage the movement of the livestock and their health control’ Mr. Davitashvili stated.

09/10/2017
Georgian Honey on Display

Georgia and the Georgian honey were successfully and widely promoted at the 45th Apimondia Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, by the Ajarian Beekeeping Business Association (ABBA). The Jara honey along with Chestnut and Acacia honey were the most popular among the honey importers from all over the world. Markets for Georgian honey seems diverse based on the high interest from countries such as France, Germany, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey and India among others. More to be found in the TV slot prepared by Ajara TV

27/09/2017
Georgian Honey Enters the World Stage

The 45th Apimondia Congress 2017, the most significant event in beekeeping worldwide, will take place from 29th of September to 4th of October, in Istanbul, Turkey. For the first time in Apimondia’s hundred years of history, Georgia will be at this world forum, represented by the Ajarian Beekeeping Business Association (ABBA), exhibiting the different types of honey of its members and promoting Georgian honey and beekeeping.

14/08/2017
The Sweetest Festival

It now has become a tradition of Batumi’s Summer to hold the sweetest festival of the year. The annual Honey Festival was held for the third time on August 12th on Batumi Boulevard.  Up to 40 beekeepers from across Georgia who once again presented their honey and by products for the festival visitors. Honey themed entertainment activities for children, including face-painting, games; live music from folk ensembles and rock band were laid on, keeping the celebration spirit all day.

“I’m participating in the festival for the third time, as it helped me to get income and find new clients for honey. I think it is very important event in promotion of the beekeeping sector in Ajara, which is one of the leading honey producer regions” – Revaz Katamadze, the beekeeper from Kobuleti Municipality.

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