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The Kindness of Strangers
24/03/2020
Amidst the negative news and stories of unthinking behaviour, some stories have emerged globally of people and business who have responded to the crisis with kindness and generosity. These stories fill all of us with a sense of hope and comfort in our ability to work together. So we are delighted to be able to share the stories of some of the ALCP clients who have been contributing to the common good over the past week: Roki Ltd, the largest veterinary input supplier and producer in Georgia, has started the production of a new hand sanitizer Septer as a response to increased demand. Supplies sold out in a day to banks, the Ministry of Education and clinics and there is a new order for four tonnes of Septer from the government. The company closely cooperated with the government in developing the product trying to use its resources for the benefit of all; A GMM cheese distributor has organized the collection of cheese from eleven Georgian Milk Mark dairies: Milkeni, Tsintskaro +, Cheese Hut, Shuamta, Tvisis Kveli, Tsifora –Samtkhe, Tsezari, Coop. Khiza, Coop. Disveli, Teleti Ltd and distributed it to theInfectious Diseases and AIDS Center in Tbilisi to support medical staff during the outbreak; GMM dairy Tsipora Ltd in Samtkhe-Javakheti has supplied cheese to the Abastumani Lung Center. Tsivis Kveli Ltd Kakheti brought cheese to the hotel Chateau Mere in Kakheti - for those under quarantine;   The Georgian Beekeepers Union initiated the collection of honey from local beekeepers across the country to supply people in vulnerable groups. The KTW group offered the government the use of their forty-one rooms hotel-complex Akhasheni Wine Resort &Spa, for arranging a quarantine zone in Kakheti region. 
First Bio Certified Honey in Georgia
16/03/2020
In a country first, eighteen Jara beekeepers in Ajara have received Bio certification. Jara honey was not even commercially harvested and branded until 2018, however the market for the honey has proved its strength so successfully that the beekeepers saw the opportunity to further promote their product through bio certification.   The conversion was relatively simple and certainly achievable as Jara honey is based on the capture of wild swarms and is relatively hands off. Since November 2018, the Jara Beekeepers Association (JBA) has been facilitating training and on-site recommendations; it also provides treatment of hives with a Bio vet medicine and special equipment for the mentioned Jara beekeepers. The beekeepers now follow the bio requirements; including keeping records, better husbandry, use of bio vet medicine. This allowed for smooth journey through the minimum one-year conversion period for certification. Caucascert, the only organic certification company in Georgia issued the internationally recognized Bio certificates after laboratory results and field checks, which did not show any incompliance. ‘I am very proud that I was able to get Bio certification. It was challenging, as I did not have any kind of information before, but support from the JBA was crucial. I can already see the outcomes, because the process already contributed to minimizing disease risk and increase productivity of a Jara hive by thirty percent’ – Bio certified Jara beekeeper from Keda municipality. Six more Jara beekeepers, including the Jara apiary in the Goderdzi Alpine Garden, are currently undergoing the certification process and might obtain certification by the end of this year. The Jara honey mark was registered in February, 2020 and both its production and the market for it, including export is growing. More details on Jara honey to be found on www.jarahoney.com.
Honey Quality Levels Continue to Rise
21/02/2020
As part of  the agreement which allows Georgian Honey to be exported to the EU, the government annually carries out a Residue Monitoring survey.  Worryingly high residues of prohibited antibiotics were found in previous years (see infographic below).  2019 however saw  national information campaign carried by the Georgian Beekeepers Union, who developed and disseminated Do’s and Don’ts Antibiotic Use Infographic and facilitated breakthrough legislation adopted by the Government of Georgia, which prohibits registration of the beekeeping vet medicines containing restricted antibiotics, among others. As a result, this year, only eight percent of honey samples tested positive for prohibited substances, compared to fifty-four percent of the last year, according to the Residue Monitoring Plan results, made by the National Food Agency in the BIOR laboratory in Riga, Latvia. It is a significant achievement for Georgian honey export opportunities and expanding markets.