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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
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

9/03/2016
ALCP Wins in Photo Competition

ALCP photo won in the photo competition on Private Sector Development announced by DCED. Photo is taken in programme financed Wool Collecting Center and it was listed among 5 winners in condition of high competition. Winning photo will be displayed on new DCED website, visited by more than 60,000 unique users per year, and materials printed for high-profile events and publications. It will also be shown at the DCED Global Seminal in Bangkok.

18/12/2015
Animal Movement Milestone

After months of intensive construction work and four and a half years of multi-stakeholder advocacy the first Bio Security Point on the AMR has been opened.  By the next transhumance season spring 2016, the country will have proper infrastructure for ensuring systematic health control of the livestock in place.

The event was attended by the Regional Director for Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus, by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, the Head of the National Food Agency, the Governor and Gamgebelies of Kvemo Kartli region and the representatives of private and non-governmental sector. The event was widely covered by the national media.

LATEST NEWS
Local TV launched in Tsalka
16/06/2022
On June 16th the Journalism Resource Centre celebrated the opening of the first local TV media TOK TV in Tsalka municipality. Three local journalists attended journalism courses on reporting for one month. As Tsalka is a multiethnic municipality the journalists represent Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian communities. ‘We will report on the issues that are important in increasing transparency and accountability among the general population and local officials. Reports related to agricultural issues will be one of the main topics for our work. Local people will be engaged in the decision-making around ongoing local development. Especially, this is important after the newly opened tourist attraction in Dashbashi Canyon.’ - Local Journalist Nazi Meshveliani said.
Switzerland and Austria Celebrating jointly their 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations with Georgia
24/06/2022
    On June 22nd, On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Switzerland and Georgia, as well as Austria with Georgia, Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, H. E. Heidi Grau and Ambassador of Austria to Georgia, H. E. Thomas Muehlmann planted a tree in the Goderdzi Alpine Garden. The Minister of Agriculture of Ajara AR, Zaza Shavadze and the Deputy Mayor of Khulo, Nadim Vasadze joined the event. The Goderdzi Alpine Garden is an important tourist destination in mountainous Ajara and a testimony of biodiversity and cultural richness of the region. Both ambassadors picked up on the theme of needing to balance development with sustainability and care for nature and that the garden is an excellent example of this. While the Director of Batumi Botanical Garden, Irakli Archaia emphasized the importance of the garden and initiated the idea of copying the model of the garden in other municipalities. The minister of Agriculture of Ajara, Zaza Shavadze stated thatcreating and supporting new opportunities for rural development is the key goal of the strategic framework of relations of Switzerland and Austria with Ajara region. H.E. Heidi Grau noted the excellent results achieved by ALCP in creating job and income opportunities for the rural population, including by supporting the production of Jara honey, and was pleased to announce that ‘Switzerland is engaging in a new phase of the ALCP project, together with Austria and joined by Sweden, until 2026, with a total budget of USD 6.5 million. This will allow to further facilitate production in beekeeping, dairy and meat, wild botanicals and silk, as well as support the development of the Goderdzi Botanical Garden, for the benefit of women and men living in mountainous regions,’ Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, H. E. Heidi Grau said. The delegation visited Wool House in Klde Village, Samtskhe-Javakheti, the Georgian Milk Mark dairy enterprise, Natural Produktsia Ltd in Dioknisi Village, Khulo and honey processing factory, Agro Keda Ltd. The Austrian Ambassador H.E. Thomas Muehlmann underlined, that support in further development of the wool sector, as well as support in uniting the voices of beekeepers through support to their professional union created new opportunities for development for the rural population. ‘Support to rural and local development is a key aim of the new framework strategy of Austria with Georgia. We believe, that with joint efforts European countries will bring more experience and novelties to Georgia, which will trigger further development of the country,’ Austrian Ambassador H.E. Thomas Muehlmann said.
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.         
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