Authors: Irakli Kochlamazashvili and Eric Livny. This article belongs to the ISET Economist Blog.
Stemming from educated backgrounds, Nino Kvirkvelia and, husband, Irakli Todua invested their entrepreneurial skills and passion for harvesting strawberries into effect on their fertile 28-hectare land.
In 2013, the couple seized the opportunity provided by ENPARD, European Neighborhood Program for Agricultural and Regional Development. The opportunity involved distributing “recoverable grants” in hopes of establishing a successful agricultural cooperation. And successful it was as the couple founded the Shamatia cooperation. In 2014, the Agricultural Cooperation Development Agency (ACDA) officially registered Shamatia as a cooperation.
However, before the success of their strawberry fields grew, disaster struck. A European laboratory announced that a virus had infected the strawberry seedlings. Therefore, as the seedlings began to wilt and the laboratory tests continued, the overall damage had skyrocketed to over 15 thousand GEL. Moreover, the loss tossed six month’s worth of income down the drain.
Fortunately, the couple victoriously disinfected the strawberry fields. The decontamination led them to import three thousand healthy seedlings from Spain. This constitutes for 50% of the total Shamatia capacity with and creates an expected 2 tons of harvest in March-July 2017.