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The Georgian Milk Mark Cheese at the Georgian Cheese and Wine Evening

On 16th of December 2019, the Georgian Milk mark organized a Georgian Cheese and Wine evening at 8000 Vintages to introduce cheese with Georgian Milk mark (GMM) to the supermarkets and encouraged them to pass information on the advantages of GMM cheese to consumers. Cheese with Georgian Milk mark does not contain milk powder or any vegetable oils, it has laboratory analysis and is produced in the enterprises which are HACCP certified.

The Guests had the opportunity to taste different types of cheese made from natural raw milk produced by thirteen enterprises: Milken Ltd, Tsintskaro + Ltd, I.E Hakob Hambaryan, I.E Karen Simonyan, I.E Tsolak Grigoryan, Tsifora –Smatskhe Ltd, Tsalka +Ltd, Dairy Products Company Tsezari Ltd, Gocha Gagashvili – brand name Tsivis Kveli, Levan Bejanishvili-brand name Shuamta, Badri Gogoladze – brand name Cheese Hut, Coop. Tanadgoma, Coop. Disvelli. The Information per enterprise is available on www.georgianmilk.ge. The website allows consumers to look up the products they are buying using a unique register number printed on a label.

The evening of Georgian Cheese and Wine was attended by Mr. Levan Davitashvili, the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Project Alliances Caucasus Program (ALCP) implemented by Mercy Corps, Georgian Milk Mark Project Administrator - Business Institute of Georgia and Marketing Company GMA Representative, the supermarkets and the dairies using the Georgian Milk mark.

The evening was headed by Zaza Grigalashvili, an '8000 Vintages' Sommelier, who spoke about Georgian cheese and wine pairing.

Helen Bradbury, ALCP Team Leader: ‘We have private sector cheese enterprises in the room from different regions, these are a real dairy businesses operating for years and years. It is very important that this is Georgian Milk from Georgian cows who eat Georgian grass. Consumers want to eat natural, healthy, good country food which comes from this beautiful land, from this beautiful clean water, from happy cows and are made in communities living in countryside.  Today we are at 8000 Vintages and we all know the history of wine. If you want ‘Qvevri’ wine or European style wine we know from where it comes from its name and the consumer can choose according wine value and its good for the producer, they can add more value and then this value goes back to the jobs, factories in the communities. So in the dairy sector it is going to be the same: as cheese will have the name, taste, value, style and its started to develop, the money supporting these factories goes back to women who are supplying milk, their families, they are putting money to their children education and investing in their life'. 

Levan Davitashvili, The Minister of MEPA: ‘I think the most difficult sector in Georgia is adairy sector and we have a lot to do together. A good presentation of a final product the market and how we bring cheese to the consumer is very important. We can say that competition between the enterprises is unfair, but we work on this via new the regulations to change the situation in the sector, we also empower our laboratories to have better quality and safe products. Today we have Georgian Milk mark presentation which is a very good idea for providing information to the consumers about dairy products, which also gives advantages to producer'.

The Products with the mark are available in Madagoni, Spar, Ori Nabiji, Nikora, Zgapari, Fresco, Carrefour, and Goodwill supermarket chains.

OTHER NEWS
9/02/2019
Breakthrough Legislation for Honey Sector

On 8th of November, 2018, the Government of Georgia adopted regulation #525, which forbids registration of the vet drugs containing prohibited antibiotics, like, chloramphenicol, metronidazole, dimetridazole, ronidazole, nitrofuran (including furazolidonewhich are widely used in beekeeping. The regulation entered into force on 1st of January, 2019 and was nationally covered by the media outlets. The regulation was proposed by the Veterinary Department of the NFA, after this constraint was raised at the first Honey Sector Advisory Committee on 22nd of June, 2018, which brought together honey stakeholders to discuss tackling the high levels of antibiotic residues in honey which are limiting the development of the honey sector. 

                                         

8/02/2019
Veterinary Surveillance Points in OIE publication

An article about Veterinary Surveillance Points (VSP) has been published in a quarterly bulletin of OIE – the World Organization for Animal Health. The article covers topics on the tradition of livestock seasonal movement in Georgia, the necessity of establishing VSPs and the importance of the points in animal health control throughout the country. The author of the publication is the Head of the Veterinary Department of the National Food Agency and the OIE Delegate of Georgia - Lasha Avaliani.

Please follow the link: Oiebulletin/veterinary-surveillance-points

06/02/2019
It’s official: the ‘Georgian Milk’ Mark Registered

The ‘Georgian Milk’ mark has been registered in the National Intellectual Property Centre of Georgia - Saqpatenti. The mark is now protected to avoid falsification and strengthen the ownership of Business Institute of Georgia, an independent body which will regularly audit dairies granted license to use the mark.

Eighteen dairy enterprises have already applied to use the mark.

The new ‘Georgian Milk’ mark will distinguish dairy products made from natural raw milk.

Information per enterprise will be published online on a www.georgianmilk.ge website which will come online at beginning of March. This will allow consumers to look up the products they are buying using a unique register number printed on the label.

A national promotion campaign conducted by GMA international marketing company to introduce the mark to the public and retailers will be rolled out from the end of next month.


23/01/2019
Watershed for Dairy Sector in Georgia

A presentation of a new ‘Georgian Milk’ mark was held on the 22nd of January at Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi.

Up to 150 dairy enterprises and representatives of supermarkets, agri markets, sectoral associations and Government Agencies participated in the meeting.

The new ‘Georgian Milk’mark will distinguish dairy products made from natural raw milk. The ‘Georgian Milk’ mark will be found only on dairy products produced from Georgian natural raw milk and which do not contain milk powder and/or any vegetable oils. The purpose of the mark is to promote products made from Georgian natural raw milk, which will help consumers make informed decisions while buying milk and other dairy products. A recent large national consumer survey by the Caucasus Research Resource Centre of urban consumers across Georgia showed that consumers want to be able to buy ‘ecologically clean’ dairy products, meaning clean milk that comes from healthy grass fed cattle and dairy products produced in clean regulated enterprises. The research found that the majority of consumers had difficulty in identifying or being able to buy such products as these products are currently undifferentiated in shops. The ‘Georgian Milk’ mark will therefore solve this problem.

18/01/2019
Do’s and Don’ts Antibiotic Use

The ALCP facilitated the Georgian Beekeepers Union to develop infographic regards Do’s and Don’ts Antibiotic Use, providing guidelines for the beekeepers on proper usage of antibiotics and preventing honey and beeswax from contamination with the antibiotics. The full version of the infographic is available here.

                     

                     

26/12/2018
Agri Journalism Spreads

On December 26th, the Journalism Resource Centre presented its second edition of the agri journalism module. About hundred guests from the government, business and academic sphere attended the event.

The Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, Levan Davitashvili stated: ‘I am very glad to hear about all the initiatives related to agri journalism. Education is very important in agriculture for ensuring information dissemination for farmers. The door of the Minister of Agriculture is open for you at any time and our partnership with regional media is very important.’

The agri module was created for inclusion in BA in journalism degrees. Now, ten universities across Georgia have the agri journalism module established in their curriculum, lasting one semester with a total of 15 credit hours. Four more universities are about to do the same this year. 369 students have undergone the course in Georgia to date. Now those initiatives are ready for transfer to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

During the event, the Journalism Resource Centre awarded farmers and specialists within the agricultural sector. The Best Female Farmer of the Year award was given to beekeeper Mariam Kiladze; the Best Vet of the Year was Giorgi Tcikhelashvili from Dmanisi, he is 25 years-old who graduated from the Vet Department at Agrarian University and went back to Dmanisi and is working as a vet. The Best Male Farmer award was given to shepherd Giorgi Imerlishvili. Credo and the EBRD were recognized as financial institutions that supports agriculture, and SDC Project Mercy Corps Alliances Caucasus Programme for supporting agri media journalism.

At the end of the event, the Journalism Resource Centre announced the establishment of the Agro Guild, which unites journalists and media organizations, businesses, farmers, public officials, and universities and sets up annual or bi-annual advisory committees. The members of media associations and the JRC also announced that they are planning to establish an Agri TV program, the pilot of which will start in three months.

Follow this link for additional news regarding the event.

LATEST NEWS
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.                              
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