HOME > ALCP News
Cheese Story

Name: Natural Produktsia Ltd

Place: Dioknisi Village, Khulo Municipality

Type of business: Cheese Factory

Product: Imeruli Cheese

Suppliers: about 450 women from 13 villages of Khulo

Current production per day: 5 tons of milk  (700 kg of cheese) 


The Problem

The 450 women now selling milk directly to the milk collectors of the Natural Produktsia Ltd Factory in Dioknisi, Khulo used to make cheese from their milk.  Women are responsible for milking the household cattle and making the cheese, butter, sour cream and cottage cheese which is then sold as an important part of the family’s livelihood.

Selling these products however is hard and uncertain. The journey by marshutka to Batumi Agrarian Market can take up to 4 hours on bad roads. It is taken to the market by husbands or other male family members or sent with the driver and met by a relative who then tries to sell it. There is no guarantee of a sale and often the family is forced to accept a low price from the market vendors rather than take it home again.

 
The Idea

The idea for the factory came from a member of an old Khulo farming family, Arcadi.  His brother, Tsezari was already in the dairy business in Tsalka with his mother, where, hoping to escape the lack of opportunity in Khulo they moved to Kvemo Kartli and started a small cheese factory in a cowshed.  This cowshed is now a purpose built factory with its Sulguni cheese supplying Carrefour and the 5 star hotels of Batumi. Alliances KK had helped them do it. Arcadi was already selling his brother’s Sulguni cheese from the familiy’s distribution outlet in Batumi Market, but Sulguni only makes up 20% of the market the other 80% is for Imeruli.  When Alliances opened in Ajara in 2014, Arcadi saw his chance. He proposed a small factory collecting milk from the upper mountain villages making Imeruli cheese.  The gamble was that Imeruli sells for 2 lari less per kilo than Sulguni and you have to make and sell a lot more of it to make a profit.


The Solution

450 women are now selling milk directly to the milk collectors of the Natural Produktsia Ltd Factory in Dioknisi, Khulo. The building which opened in September 2015 is compliant with the new food safety and hygiene requirements and equipped with, with new modern dairy equipment.  

Milk collectors from the factory collect the milk daily from the women in their houses. The women were specially trained by a food safety consultant in producing clean milk. The women save two hours a day from not having to make cheese, they save the costs of wood or gas for heating the milk to make it and other materials such as pepsin.  The family is saved the costs and time and worry of having to get to Batumi and sell the cheese.


The End and the Beginning

The programme and Arcadi were unsure of how much milk there would be.  People had said how poor the little red Ajaran cow was, how despairing the rural population. Ajara however has a magic, special even to Georgia, when the news went out that the factory was open the villagers decided en masse to sell.  Overnight more milk than anyone imagined was available.  The factory is processing 5 tonnes of milk about 700kg of cheese a day at a time of year when many dairy factories are thinking of shutting down for the winter as milk supply dwindles until the following spring. They have turned milk away as they have yet the capacity to process more. Expansion is already on the cards.  Of the cheese itself the fat content is high and the milk itself from the high mountain pastures of pristine Ajara.  The cheese moreover is delicious. The queues out the door of Aracadi’s distribution outlet in Batumi Market and the fact it’s sold out by midday testify to that.

OTHER NEWS
01/03/2019
Jara is now available on Amazon

The documentary Jara is now available for sale on amazon

Jara is a fairy tale journey through one year in the mountains of Ajara. A story of the shifting boundary between human habitat and wild nature, portrays everyday lives in the changing seasons. The wooden jara in the forest and the bees living within it are the fixed point in the story.

The film was named as the best feature film at the Wolves Independent International Film Festival2018 in Lithuania, and won the Golden Green Award 2018 at the Deauville Green Awards International Film Festival in France for the best production in the category of Sustainable Agriculture; the cameramen of the movie received an award from International Festival of TV and Movie Cameramen the Golden Eye 2018 for Best TV Camera Work.

The main backer of Jara is the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through the Mercy Corps Georgia implemented Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme.

                                                   

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.

LATEST NEWS
Bulk, Brand and Niche - Georgian Honey Export Begins to Flow
05/10/2021
Rebounding in spite of the pandemic, export markets for Georgian honey are beginning to flow and the volume of honey is growing rapidly. In the first eight months of 2021, 117 tonnes of honey were exported to eleven countries; France, Bulgaria, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Five times more than the  21.7 tonnes of honey, exported to six countries in 2020. A major recent development has been the establishment of a contract for wholesale bulk honey between Api Geo Ltd in Samtredia and Naturalim France Miel a large honey company in France. In September, forty-three tonnes of honey was shipped to France. A second order is now being prepared for shipment. Strict testing in France and Germany and a new factory and equipment capable of homogenizing 20t of honey at a time mean that the company is the first in Georgia to able to reliably service such a market. ‘This is just a start; we hope to export at least 100 tonnes of Georgian honey to France this year. We want to supply from smaller-scale beekeepers which will help them with selling their honey, which has been a problem for years in Georgia.’ - Gia Ioseliani, Founder of Api Geo Ltd. September was also a fortunate month for Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking (KTW) producers of the Nena Honey brand which includes the first Bio-certified Jara honey in Georgia.  The company has just shipped a second large order of six types of Nena honey to Hong Kong, including chestnut, blossom, alpine, linden, Jara and honey with nuts including Bio Jara honey. Nena Bio Jara honey is also on its way to Doha, Qatar. Overall, since January 2021, the company has increased the volume of honey exported by 110%, compared to 2020, to markets in Canada, USA, Hong Kong, Japan, Azerbaijan and Qatar.  Bio certification of Jara honey in Ajara is receiving considerable governmental backing. ‘We are proud that export markets for bio-certified Jara honey are growing and now it is being exported to countries like Japan, the USA, and Canada. We started to support Bio-certification of the Jara Beekeepers Association in 2021 to continue to supply diverse export markets for such a flagship product.’ - Giorgi Surmanidze, Minister of Agriculture of Ajara.   The Jara Beekeepers Association is consolidating its entry into the Japanese market in partnership with MF Company Ltd. In September they exported honey to be shown at an exhibition in Tokyo in October, after which the next order will be placed. ‘Japanese consumers are loving Jara honey, some of them told us that it helps them with stomach problems. We believe that this exhibition in Tokyo will open up new opportunities for the Jara Beekeepers Association.’ - William Pratt, Co-founder of MF Company Ltd.  
Fourth Georgian Milk Mark (GMM) Dairy Exports to the USA
24/08/2021
Dairy Enterprise Leanka Ltd from Kakheti region sent 837 kg different types of cheese (Sulguni, Smoked Sulguni, Georgian cheese) via the exporter company Geoproduct Ltd for sale in New York and Philadelphia, USA. The dairy is a member of the Georgian Milk Mark the quality assurance label for Georgian natural milk and its products bare the GMM. The company expects further increased orders in the near future.
Jara Teaching Ready to Go
12/07/2021
Eleven Vet colleges with beekeeping programmes have already received Jara equipment from the Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU) and Jara Beekeepers Association (JBA). These eleven colleges are ready to integrate the Jara materials into their beekeeping programmes some from September this year and others in the spring semester next year.  The Deputy Minister of Education of Georgia, the Minister of Education of Ajara, and the Mayor of Keda visited the Keda VET College and expressed their support to Jara teaching. ‘We received the package of equipment for Jara teaching. The beekeeper students, enrolled last year, are looking forward to getting lessons related to Jara producing; officially, we are starting teaching from a new semester’ – Ilia Kharazishvili, the head of the beekeeping programme at Kachreti College. The handover of Jara equipment is a follow-up activity of the Training of Trainers in Jara Honey Production for VET Colleges, which was held on May 18th-19th  hosted by the Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU) and the Jara Beekeepers Association (JBA) in Keda, Medzibna Village. The National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement and sectoral skills organization Agro Duo are supporting the GBU and JBA with Jara teaching integration in the VET colleges. ‘We started cooperating with the Georgian Beekeepers Union and Jara Beekeepers Association for integrating Jara into our beekeeping programme, however, we are going to involve them in updating the whole beekeeping programme. We need their consultancy to share with us all standards to improve the programme’ - Bela Avalishvili, the head of Opizari VET College in Akhaltsikhe. These colleges are  VET College at Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University; Black Sea Keda VET College; Black Sea Shuakhevi VET College; VET College Opizari in Akhaltsikhe; VET College Gantiadi in Gori; VET College Aisi in Kachreti; Training Center Farmers' House in Sagarejo, a brunch of Public College Aisi; VET college Iberia in Bagdati; VET College at Shota Meskhia Zugdidi State Teaching University; VET College at Georgian Technical University - Didi Jikhaishi in Imereti; and VET College Horizonti in Guria.  Last year Akhali Talga VET College in Kobuleti and Khulo integrated the Jara materials into their one-year beekeeping programme, which is attended by twenty-eight beekeeper students. The GBU and JBA also delivered the Jara equipment to these colleges in 2020.
LATEST PUBLICATIONS
TOURISM IN GEORGIA: FROM PAST LESSONS TO FUTURE PERSPECTIVES
Annual Report April 2020 to March 2021
Ten Golden Rules for Reforestation