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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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Jul
04

Will Restricting Food Imports Save Georgian Farmers?

On June 2, 2016 the second EU supported Farmers’ Congress of Georgia was held at the Tbilisi exposition center. Around 150 farmers from different parts of Georgia had an opportunity to meet with the government representatives and discuss current challenges of Georgian agriculture. The Congress mainly focused on three major issues for smallholders and cooperatives:  access to market, access to finance and potential impact of food security regulations. Farmers provided their own view on what type of trade policies the government should implement in or...
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Jun
30

Food Prices Reach Lowest Mark. At Least in Tbilisi

Retail food prices decreased by 7.6% m/m (compared to the last week of May) and 10.1% y/y (compared to June 2015). The biggest drops were observed for tomatoes (-65.5%), cucumbers (-63.3%) and eggplant (-33.7%). Only a few products gained in value. The highest increases were recorded for cabbage (12.8%), tea (7.3%) and rice (7.2%). TBILISI FOOD PRICES REACH MINIMUM?! Retail FPI reached its lowest mark at the end of June with the main drivers being fresh fruits and vegetables. On the one hand, price declines in the fresh produce category are always expect...
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Jun
22

Georgian Consumers Outsmarting Supermarket Managers?

Seasons change, and so do Georgian food prices. In the second week of June, Georgia’s major food retail networks (Carrefour, Goodwill, Fresco and SPAR) lowered their prices by an average of 3.9% y/y and 1.8% m/m. Compared to the end of May, prices moved the most for the following food items: eggplant (-21%), pasta (-10.3%) and coffee (-5.7%); wheat flour (+11%), buckwheat (+10.5%) and garlic (+6.8%). THE LAW OF ONE PRICE … WHAT LAW? Why should exactly the same product sell at dramatically different prices in different shops? It shouldn’t. At least that’s...
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Apr
30

We May Not Be Hungry, but We Are Starving...

It is a well known fact that nearly a half of Georgian population is involved in agriculture, while Georgia imports around 60% of all the food it consumes. High food import share and food security  are important issues for Georgia, widely discussed among the policy makers and in the media. One issue that remains largely in the shadows of public attention is Georgia’s struggle with nutritional deficiencies and unhealthy, undiversified diets.  Surveys show that bread is one of the main sources of calories in Georgian diets, accounting for as much...
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Nov
30

Innovation Starts Here and Now … In Lisi Lake Greenhouses

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.  -John Maynard Keynes- Innovation is not necessarily about Silicon Valley Hi-Tech startups. It can happen here and now. In particular, contrary to what we have been hearing from our liberal politicians, there is plenty of scope for innovation in Georgia’s agriculture! Owned and managed by Nina Petrova-Dzneladze, Lisi Lake Greenhouses is a family farm located on 0.6ha of land in Tbilisi. The complex consists of three medium size greenhouses producing fruit and ...
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Sep
26

Georgian Farmers Playing Russian Roulette

On August 20, 2015 a strong hailstorm hit Georgia, devastating crops and infrastructure in eastern Kakheti. In Kvareli alone, the hailstorm destroyed about 1,300ha of Saperavi and 1,000ha of Rkatsiteli grapes, affecting more than 500 families. This was only one in a string of natural disasters striking Georgian farmers in recent years. One of the worst calamities occurred in July 2012, when heavy rain, strong winds, hail and floods damaged thousands of hectares of arable land in Kakheti, ripping roofs and destroying vital infrastructure.   Whil...
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