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First Bio Certified Honey in Georgia

In a country first, eighteen Jara beekeepers in Ajara have received Bio certification. Jara honey was not even commercially harvested and branded until 2018, however the market for the honey has proved its strength so successfully that the beekeepers saw the opportunity to further promote their product through bio certification.  

The conversion was relatively simple and certainly achievable as Jara honey is based on the capture of wild swarms and is relatively hands off. Since November 2018, the Jara Beekeepers Association (JBA) has been facilitating training and on-site recommendations; it also provides treatment of hives with a Bio vet medicine and special equipment for the mentioned Jara beekeepers. The beekeepers now follow the bio requirements; including keeping records, better husbandry, use of bio vet medicine. This allowed for smooth journey through the minimum one-year conversion period for certification.

Caucascert, the only organic certification company in Georgia issued the internationally recognized Bio certificates after laboratory results and field checks, which did not show any incompliance.

‘I am very proud that I was able to get Bio certification. It was challenging, as I did not have any kind of information before, but support from the JBA was crucial. I can already see the outcomes, because the process already contributed to minimizing disease risk and increase productivity of a Jara hive by thirty percent’ – Bio certified Jara beekeeper from Keda municipality.

Six more Jara beekeepers, including the Jara apiary in the Goderdzi Alpine Garden, are currently undergoing the certification process and might obtain certification by the end of this year.

The Jara honey mark was registered in February, 2020 and both its production and the market for it, including export is growing. More details on Jara honey to be found on www.jarahoney.com.

OTHER NEWS
20/06/2016
Jara Coming Soon

The promotion of Ajara as a world class ecological hotspot and eco-tourism destination is soon set for a massive boost. Filming on the ALCP facilitated Eco Films production ‘Jara’a 52 minutes, a half-wildlife, half-human story observational documentary about mountains of one specific region of Republic of Georgia – Ajara, is nearly complete and the production to bring together the material is now ongoing. The film has brought together various conservation stakeholders World Wildlife Fund Georgia, Caucasus Nature Fund, Eco Tours Georgia, Environmental Association Psovi, to produce what will be a stunning showcase of the beauty, nature and unique livelihoods of the rural inhabitants of Ajara.

The programme has already worked with EcoTours Ltd on developing Ajara as a destination for rural tourism based on nature and people.  View their promotional video here and visit their website where they offer tailor-made tours to help you unlock the beauty of the region.

Source of Photos: Jara Documentary Film


13/06/2016
Road to Success

Finally after years of waiting punctuated by the protests of desperate rural inhabitants who have at times blocked it to highlight their plight, the Batumi-Akhaltsikhe central road, which from the top of the Goderdzi pass to Khulo is little more than a dangerous track, is to be constructed into a proper road.  The Kuwait Economic Fund has signed MoU with the Government of Georgia to help with rehabilitation of the road. The funding for the project (which is estimated at 100 million GEL) has been received as a state loan to be approved by the Parliament of Georgia soon.

Rehabilitating The road, which can be justly claimed one of the most beautiful in Georgia, will immediately enhance the lives of rural inhabitants not just in quality of life but in as a boost to livelihoods as even in its current condition the road is a vital trading link between Ajara, Samtskhe -Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli as illustrated by the fact sheets.

                                      Map: red one is Batumi-Akhaltsikhe Road and others are the longer routes.

                           

01/06/2016
Cheese Factory in Khulo

The first Cheese Factory in Ajara, Natural Produktsia Ltd was officially opened in Dioknisi, Khulo Municipality.

Construction of the factory started in April, 2015 and has been functioning since October. Natural Produktsia Ltd is the first and only cheese factory in upper Ajara producing Imeruli cheese currently at the largest scale in Georgia. The factory is set up with modern equipment and is producing cheese in accordance with FS&H standards. The factory collects milk from 22 villages of Khulo municipality from more than 300 farmers to date, who have now have a source of daily income. The factory processes up to 6 tons of milk daily and makes Imeruli cheese, Sulguni cheese, cottage cheese and butter. It employs 23 local farmers, out of which 11 are women. The factory is the sister factory of the family enterprise Tzesari Ltd whose factory in Sakdrioni village Tsalka produces sulguni which is sold in Carrefour in Tbilisi and in the Batumi Agrarian Market, leading hotels, such as Hilton, Sheraton, Radisson; restaurants - Porto Franco, Munchen, Pier Batumi, Riviera; supermarkets like Goodwill, Nugeshi, Nikora, Ialchin, Willmart, Absolute, etc.

20/05/2016
First Trials Runs of Rustavi and Marneuli Bio Security Points

Djakhangir Abasov, 2500 sheep owner from Sagarejo municipality: “It is very good and almost unbelievable that we’ll bath our ship and cattle for free. We were paying to private owners 0.5 Tetri per sheep which is 100-150 GEL for a flock plus money for the chemicals”.

22/04/2016
Agricultural Shorts Take Off

Over the last 18 months, programme client Agricultural video producer Mosavali has been developing technical video lessons on key aspects of livestock husbandry and beekeeping.  The videos pitched at reaching farmers through social media and no longer than 3 minutes viewing time have taken off.  9 livestock and 7 beekeeping videos have been produced and uploaded to networks.

13/04/2016
ALCP Experience Sharing at Global Seminar

The participation of Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme at DCED Global Seminar was highly appreciated and named within the top 3 seasons of the event by the attended audience. The seminar on the Standards for Results Measurement was hosted by DCED in Bangkok from 14 to 16 March 2016.

Women's economic empowerment, assessing attribution, measuring job creation, and using results information to manage programmes – were the main topics of presentations and discussions featured on the seminar. 130 participants from 38 countries, representing 52 organizations, field programmes and donor agencies gathered for the information exchange, for deepening understanding of DCED standards and for participating in plenary discussions on cutting edge themes.

The full agenda, presentations with relevant links and final summary report are available on the following link: DCED Seminar2016

LATEST NEWS
Georgian Milk Mark Dairies on Show
04/05/2022
The Cheese and Tea Exhibition showcasing Georgian traditional, as well as foreign produce was held at Mtatsminda Park on May 1st, 2022. Ten dairies with the Georgian Milk Mark (GMM) - Milkeni, Tsintskaro +, Meskhuri Gemo, Bebo’s Kveli, Suamta, Leanka, Alpuri Javakheti, Dertseli’s Nobati, Naturaluri Rdzis Gemo, Tsezari presented their products at the event organized by Anna Mikadze-Chikvaidze, the Head of the Cheese Producers Guild. Visitors tasted cheese and got to know about the GMM. Butter with spices, a new product by Milkeni, was their favourite. ‘The GMM contributed a lot to make this event happen. I am thankful to them for giving me an opportunity to discover amazing products, like butter with spices. I am glad that the GMM promotes raw milk production’ - Event founder Anna Mikadze-Chikvaidze praised the development of the GMM in her Facebook posts. Created in 2019, the GMM has twenty dairies currently using the mark. The GMM products are available in Madagoni, Spar, Tserti, Magniti, Smart, Ori Nabiji, Nikora, Zgapari, Fresco, Carrefour, Goodwill, Daily, Billion and Willmart supermarket chains. A comprehensive online portal www.georgianmilk.ge provides a profile per enterprise allowing consumers to look up the products they are buying using a unique registration number printed on the label.         
Cooperation Solidifies Between Georgian and Armenian Women’s Rooms
15/04/2022
For three days from 11-14 April, the Women’s Rooms Union of Georgia NGO hosted an Armenian delegation of the Mayors of Alaverdi, Tumanyan and Tashir municipalities of Armenia, their three Women’s Rooms managers, representatives of Lori Region Governor’s office and the Association of Lawyers Community NGO.  These three municipalities in Armenia have now all instituted Women’s Rooms and were in Georgia to learn more about their operation and potential and to strengthen links in the region. They met the mayors and deputy mayors of Akhmeta and Telavi municipalities, and a representative of Kakheti Governor’s office and visited the rooms. The Women’s Room managers of both municipalities did presentations on their work. ‘It was a very interesting and useful visit. We have just established the Women’s Room service in our municipality and, as we’ve copied the Georgian model, it was necessary for us to see how this it works here,’ – Suren Tumanyan, the mayor of Tumanyan municipality said. ‘After this visit we clearly see how to use our Women’s Rooms and make sure that our women and girls are involved in local decision making through the Women’s Room as it was done in Georgia,’ – Edgar Arshakyan, the mayor of Tashir municipality said. One of the main goals of the municipal Women’s Rooms in Georgia is to support women’s entrepreneurship by helping them write business proposals, connect with other women entrepreneurs and access the trainings and information. Participants visited social enterprise Skhivi, where women are making traditional enamel jewelry and accessories, the shop of entrepreneur Tamar Mikeladze, who is making handmade soaps and candles under the brand name Kumpa, and a local female beekeeper. ‘We are impressed with the results of Georgian Women’s Rooms regarding women’s economic empowerment. The managers here had business plan writing and fundraising trainings to help local women to start their own businesses. We are looking forward to doing the same in Armenia,’ – Sasun Khechumyan, the mayor of Alaverdi said. ‘In Lori region there are five municipalities in total, out of which three municipalities have already opened the Women’s Rooms. We are ready to support the opening of this service in the other two municipalities as well,’ – Alik Sahakyan, the representative of Lori Governor’s office said. This study tour has laid the foundation for future cooperation between Georgian and Armenian municipalities. Alaverdi and Akhmeta municipalities have decided to become twin towns and the Women’s Rooms Union is going to continue cooperation with these Armenia municipalities. Background information: From 2011 to date the SDC and ADA funded Mercy Corps implemented Alliances Caucasus Programme has been facilitating the establishment and scaling up the municipal Women’s Rooms in Georgia and Armenia. 32 Women’s Rooms in Georgia and three Women’s Rooms in Armenia have been opened so far. The Women’s Rooms are owned by local governments and are used to facilitate access to public decision making, goods and economic opportunities. The Women’s Rooms Union was formed in 2021 to represent the rooms and facilitate their interests. The information about the visit was posted on a Facebook pages of Telavi and Akhmeta City Halls. Local TV Tanamgzavri made two news items about the visit. Please, follow the links below: Meeting at Telavi City Hall  *  Visiting Local Women Entrepreneurs Follow the link to watch The Women’s Rooms Promo Video
New Jara Textbook Introduced for VET
12/04/2022
Georgian Traditional Beekeeping: Jara Honey Production is a new textbook now available for VET colleges who include a Jara component in their beekeeping courses. It is part of making the Jara beekeeping course material an accredited component in its own right from September this year. The author Aleko Papava, who is a competent, reliable and respected beekeeper teacher and Head of the Georgian Beekeepers Union, wrote the book together with education specialists on behalf of the Georgian Beekeepers Union and Jara Beekeepers Association. The Scientific Research Centre of Agriculture of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture reviewed and acknowledged the book positively.   ‘The book is written in a highly professional manner, materials meet the demand of the beekeeping sector in terms of bio honey production and provide comprehensive information about all the topics for studying Jara Honey Production’ – says the Centre in their letter sent to the GBU. In June 2021, thirteen VET college representatives from seven regions of Georgia attended a Training of Trainers in Jara Honey Production and later received jara equipment. Now eight of them are integrating aspects of Jara beekeeping into different subjects of the beekeeping programmes to 106 students. Five more colleges will start soon. This textbook means that Jara Beekeeping will be taught as a separate accredited component of these courses. The newly established Vocational Skills Agency, National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement and sectoral skills organization Agro Duo are all supporting Jara teaching integration in the VET colleges. Linked resources: Jara Honey Production Handbook; Bio Certification Guidelines for Beekeepers; www.honeyofgeorgia.com; Discover Georgia: The Land of the Oldest Honey.
LATEST PUBLICATIONS
Sheep Dipping Guidelines
Georgian Traditional Beekeeping: Jara Honey Production GEO
The book will allow all VET colleges with beekeeping programmes to teach Jara as a subject from September 2022.
Bi Annual Report April 2021 to September 2021