The study proves high export potential for Georgian herbs
International Conference Herbs of Georgia supports the efforts of the Georgian Government to diversify and increase exports of high value products from the country and take greater advantage of serving 500 million consumer thanks to Deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the Europeen Union.
Food and Agriculture Organization and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development organized the Conference on May 17 May in Kutaisi, Georgia. The event was supported by the EU in the framework of EU4Business Initiative and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Environment Production and Agriculture of Georgia and attached over 60 perticipants from the industry.
The goal of the event was to highlight investment opportunities in the culinary herbs value chain based on the findings of value chain assessment and technological audit carried out by the team of international and national experts.
«Increased production of high value products in Georgia could have a positive impact on the farm incomes, export revenues and modern retail trade», said Victoria Zinchuk, head of agribusiness advisory, EBRD.
Considering favourable climate conditions for production of herbs and long-standing growing tradition, Georgia has a good basis to built its expension to the global market. So far, production and exports of fresh herbs are focused almost exclusively on the market of Russian Federation but there many other markets, which would welcome high value products from Georgia and provide adequate compensation for high quality products.
«The EU, thought several coordinated initiatives such as the EU4Business and ENPARD, is helping Georgian producers to improve their competitiveness and assisting them in entering new markets and trade opportunities», said Cristina Casella, Attache on Agriculture at the EU Delegation to Georgia.
The Government of Georgia has responded to growing demand from the EU for high value products by launching the Imereti Agro Zone Development project. This is private-public partnership projects (PPP) model that enables to develop a greenhouse cluster in the Imereti region and will ensure sustainable quantitied of high value herbs for export.
«FAO’s experience in Ukraine suggests that high quality fresh produce could successfully sold beyond markets of the former soviet republics and additional efforts required to increase safety and quality of products pay back very well through much higher prices and lower risks of doing business. We are confident that Georgian fresh culinary herbs could find excellent markets in the EU, Middle East, possibly, even in North America but growers would have to update safety standarts especially related to handling, packaging and logistics of herbs with Global Gap and HACCP principles used and minimum requirement», says Andriy Yarmak, FAO.
The conference was followed by practical seminar-training on modern production and marketing of culinary herbs in Georgia.