15 000 Farmers United to Save Georgian Hazelnut
The only effective way to transform Georgian hazelnut producers and other farmers into modern and competitive players of today’s market is to offer them practical consultations and joint monitoring system.
This kind of support will make it possible for Georgian agriculture to overcome the obstacles it is facing at the moment.
According to different studies, farmers who receive only general information and guidance still lack a considerable amount of data. This, in turn, deprives them of opportunities to develop their production and get financial profit. As a result, such missteps reduce our chances to reach stable and prestigious EU market.
Temur Vartagava is a Georgian hazelnut producer from the village “October” (the Municipality of Zugdidi). He has been cooperating with the Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association (GHGA) for four years now, and in this framework, he gets practical support from an association agronomist on a daily basis.
“If we notice even a small problem in our gardens, we call them immediately and receive appropriate advice from them right away. Such consultations take place regularly between our monthly gatherings that are held in our houses.”
These meetings have a unique format, and the project is carried out by GHGA. The new practice, which was introduced to Georgia by the Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association, is known as the CREA method. In partnership with Argentinian experts, GHGA has created CREA groups in Georgia.
CREA group consists of Regional Consortia for Agricultural Experimentation and the Argentinian Association of Regional Consortia for Agricultural Experimentation (AACREA). , and their goal is to promote the development of technology and to coordinate tasks among each other more efficiently. Working in a group allows farmers to share their experience and coordinate joint actions for improving local hazelnut production.
According to Rodolfo Tkachuk, an expert from AACREA, Argentinians have been using the CREA method for more than 60 years. It is worth mentioning this Argentina is one of the best developed agricultural countries in the world with its tech-savvy farmers.
“We are glad that we made it possible to adapt this method to Georgia and share our experience with Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association. According to this method, 10-12 farmers create a group and set out a plan which serves as a guideline for their future steps. They gather in each other’s houses (in turn), and this makes the integration process more comfortable.
At every meeting, the host farmers present to the group members their garden, and during this process, they discuss all the problems and ways of achieving desired results. This makes it possible for the other group members to be familiar with the situation in a particular farmer’s garden and give them appropriate advice. Host farmers receive useful information in a written form.
“It is worth mentioning that technical knowledge is easily shared among them. If they need any further assistance, we are always there to take the necessary actions. However, farmers find it more convenient to learn from their group mates, and this is why they manage their development themselves” – tells us Rodolfo during the meeting with Georgian farmers.
“In our CREA groups, hazelnut producers not only are the receivers of information but also very often they are the contributors. The effect of a successful example allows us to attract other farmers. As a result, we have established new groups, and the Association has grown significantly. What is more important, farmers are involved in every stage of producing high-quality Georgian hazelnut. This year we have more than 15 000 farmers engaged in the program which aims to save Georgian hazelnut, farmers are following our plan and instructions, developed by Agro Consultants from Ferrero. We are confident and sure to have many successful farmers this year, which will enable Georgia to regain its position on the worlds hazelnut market. GHGA has the support of important stakeholders like USAID, FERRERO, CNFA, Ministry of Agriculture, and the National Food Agency.” – says Giorgi Todua, Executive director of GHGA.
“Regular meetings have allowed us to consider each other’s opinion and then plan our future actions as we like. Given our close cooperation, we share more experience with each other, and
we have quite good results so far” – Temur Vartagava
Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association (GHGA) was founded in 2013 and currently consists of more than 15 000 members. The main goal of the Association is to improve the knowledge of farmers in the field of hazelnut orchard management, help them increase their, and improve the quality of hazelnuts. GHGA members benefit from the following services with discounts: soil analysis, machinery for orchard management, drying, and storage of hazelnuts. GHGA also facilitates access to micro-credits to assist in purchasing fertilizers and others.....
To see activities and news by Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association, please visit the website www.ghga.ge