The Georgia Hazelnut Improvement Project (G-HIP) is a five-year Global Development Alliance (GDA), implemented by USAID, Ferrero, and CNFA.
This dynamic approach to development leverages the technical and financial resources of each partner to increase sustainable capacity and broaden, deepen, and advance public and private sector development of the hazelnut industry in Georgia.
Hazelnuts are a major agricultural product for Georgia, representing Georgia’s largest agricultural export by value. Currently, Georgia is the fourth largest producer of hazelnuts worldwide, and supports the livelihoods of more than 50,000 growers and 30 processors. Yet, due to inconsistent quality and lack of market distinction, Georgian hazelnuts often sell at a discount to neighboring Turkish hazelnuts, resulting in lower prices and reduced profitability.
The Alliance will transform and streamline the hazelnut value chain where mutual interests in the quality production of hazelnuts will incentivize growers and processors to produce and export high quality “Georgian” hazelnuts. The vision for G-HIP is that by 2020, the Alliance will have supported the hazelnut value chain to establish two sustainable associations that assist growers and processors in exporting high quality, dried, traceable hazelnuts that sell at a premium to international buyers, improving the economic livelihoods of more than 50,000 hazelnut growers.
- Association Development: Training and capacity building will serve as the lynchpin of all G-HIP activities. Through organizational management, production and post-harvest training for the Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association (GHGA) and the Hazelnut Exporters and Processors Association (HEPA), and technical training for husking/drying/storage (HDS) operators, G-HIP will strengthen the capacity of the existing infrastructure and maximize impact in the sector.
- Increased Productivity and Competitiveness, Post-harvest Handling: Many farmers have traditionally been paid based on the weight of their harvest. As a result, inefficient incentives exist for farmers to harvest their crop early when the hazelnuts are moist and heavier in weight, even though this is detrimental to the quality of the harvest. G-HIP will implement a number of activities to mitigate inefficient value chain dynamics including the introduction of a post-harvest quality incentive system, technology upgrades to post-harvest infrastructure, as well as improving access to finance for value chain stakeholders. G-HIP will also assist GHGA to conduct trainings for its members in production technology, improve current soil testing activities for producers, and support improved access to finance for producers’ input purchases.
- Infrastructure Development and Marketing: To expand export marketing opportunities for Georgian hazelnuts, GHGA has already initiated several efforts to improve traceability and widen the use of soil testing to enhance hazelnut quality along the value chain. This includes the use of traceability software to track real-time production data of its grower members which is linked with increased adoption of soil testing to enhance the productivity of hazelnut growers. G-HIP will expand the use of state-of-the-art traceability software for GHGA and its members and utilize the same software to track data obtained through soil testing. G-HIP will seek to link hazelnut processors directly to GHGA grower groups, working with GHGA and HEPA to conduct Business to Business (B2B) forums, facilitating linkages and improving growers’ knowledge of market requirements. These B2B events will also be used as a forum to provide targeted training on traceability and quality-based pricing systems, as well as to introduce growers and processors to sources of commercial finance.