Reviving Tea Culture in Georgia
More than twenty Georgian tea producers took part in the first edition of a local Tea Festival, hosted by the city of Ozurgeti on 5 May 2019. Organized by Ozurgeti Municipality, the Festival was supported by the Administration of Guria Governor, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia and the governments of Switzerland and Austria.
“Georgia has a rich history of tea production,” said Louisa Vinton, UNDP Head in Georgia. “Reviving this tradition in Guria is bringing benefits both to tea producers and to businesses catering to tourists keen to experience the authentic local culture. Given Georgia’s diversity of local identities, this is a dual approach that UNDP is confident can be replicated across the country.”
Zurab Nasaria, Guria Governor; Jiří Preclík, chargé ď Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi; and Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, also addressed the Festival participants and guests.
The Ozurgeti Tea Festival is part of a Tea Route project, which aims to promote the culture of tea-growing in the context of industry and tourism.
The fair was accompanied by the contest of “Tea Masters of Georgia”, initiated by the Georgian Association of Organic Tea Producers. The Festival participants were invited to attend a conference on the industrial and tourism opportunities of Georgian tea, visit an ethnographic corner and taste traditional dishes and local products.
UNDP and the governments of Switzerland and Austria have been supporting regional and local development in Georgia since 2012 aiming to promote strong local self-governance and economic growth and increase citizen engagement in local decision-making process. Since 2015, this large-scale programme has assisted over 30 local projects initiated by civil society and community groups in six regions of Georgia.