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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.

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Golden Scoop for Sustainable Agriculture in Georgia June 20th 2018

The Georgian documentary Jara has just won the Golden Green Award 2018 at the Deauville Green Awards International Film Festival, for the best production in the category of Sustainable Agriculture, the International jury selected the finalists in fourteen categories  from four hundred and fifteen films produced worldwide. Jara was screened during the festival in Deauville in the presence of the professionals and the press.

The Deauville Green Awards is one of the most prestigious festivals in Green Film Production worldwide launched in 2012. For the last seven years, the festival’s mission has been to enhance information films, spots and documentaries on sustainability, eco-innovations and social responsibility. Furthering public understanding and education. Each year the festival draws five hundred films from five continents, with four hundred professionals of film in attendance.

11/06/2018
Sheep Shearing Festival in Armenia

On Saturday, June 9 representatives of the ALCP team (www.alcp.ge) and a wool processor Tamar Tsikarishvili from Akhaltsikhe, Georgia attended the Sheep

Shearing Festival after being invited by SDC sister project SDA Armenia which took place in Syunik Animal Market, Syunik region. The festival aimed to promote sheep, local produce, traditions and culture of Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions (Please see the Link).

The festival included guest sheep shearer Danny Wilson from Great Britain who conducted master classes for festival participants and visitors. 



30/04/2018
Transforming Agri Journalism Success to Armenia

Knowledge is a power and the ALCP is committed to facilitating high quality agri information transfer to rural farmers strengthening the field of journalism in Georgia and Armenia.

On 25th-29th of April an international agricultural journalist was commissioned to deliver trainings to 11 Armenian TV and press journalists and 2 heads of the Department of Journalism of Armenian universities in the Caucasus International University in Tbilisi.

Follow the link of Imedi TV news on the event.

20/04/2018
Georgia and Jordan Share Women's Economic Empowerment (WEE)

On April 16th-20th, 2018 the Alliances Caucasus Programme (www.alcp.ge) funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and implemented by Mercy Corps in Georgia, hosted a study tour from the Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund (AWEF). The tour included Jordan Municipality Mayors, WEE coordinators and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture of Jordan to share ALCP’s experience on Women Economic Empowerment integration through M4P approach and best practices used. 

19/03/2018
Swiss Delegation in Kvemo Kartli

On March 16th, 2018 the Alliances Caucasus Programme (www.alcp.ge) funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and implemented by Mercy Corps in Georgia, hosted eighteen Swiss Ambassadors and Mission Directors of Development Cooperation of Switzerland from Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan as well as representatives of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs’ headquarters in Bern.  The visit was part of a regional seminar hosted by the Swiss Ambassador to Georgia and Head of Mission Olivier Burki, Regional Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Georgia.

9/03/2018
Successful Women – Sustainable Economy – Women's Business Forum in Ajara

'This forum is the first steps where women economic empowerment starts from. The Ajara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is ready to support women entrepreneurs and startups. Through the Women’s Room of ACCI we will help them in preparing Business Plans, liaising new business contacts and follow up their way of achieving success in businesses’ - Tamaz Shavadze, Chairman of ACCI.

The National Women Business Forum for  300 participants including 180 women entrepreneurs from all regions of Georgia as well as public, private and civil sector organizations concerned with women’s entrepreneurship was held in Batumi on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018.

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