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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
26/10/2017
New Bio Security Point in Kvareli Opened

A new Bio Security Point (BSP) has been opened by the Minister of Agriculture of Georgia on in Kakheti, Telavi municipality. It is the fifth point now open on the

 Animal Movement Route along with the BSP’s in Marneuli, Rustavi, Dedoplistskaro and Signagi municipalities and the third point built by the government in addition to the two points built under the ALCP as part of the activities agreed between the government and the project.

‘We are conducting complex works for supporting sheep and cattle sector development and one of the most important components of this work are identification &registration of official Animal Movement Route and a proper management of it. We now have five BSP and this helps us to manage the movement of the livestock and their health control’ Mr. Davitashvili stated.

09/10/2017
Georgian Honey on Display

Georgia and the Georgian honey were successfully and widely promoted at the 45th Apimondia Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, by the Ajarian Beekeeping Business Association (ABBA). The Jara honey along with Chestnut and Acacia honey were the most popular among the honey importers from all over the world. Markets for Georgian honey seems diverse based on the high interest from countries such as France, Germany, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey and India among others. More to be found in the TV slot prepared by Ajara TV

27/09/2017
Georgian Honey Enters the World Stage

The 45th Apimondia Congress 2017, the most significant event in beekeeping worldwide, will take place from 29th of September to 4th of October, in Istanbul, Turkey. For the first time in Apimondia’s hundred years of history, Georgia will be at this world forum, represented by the Ajarian Beekeeping Business Association (ABBA), exhibiting the different types of honey of its members and promoting Georgian honey and beekeeping.

14/08/2017
The Sweetest Festival

It now has become a tradition of Batumi’s Summer to hold the sweetest festival of the year. The annual Honey Festival was held for the third time on August 12th on Batumi Boulevard.  Up to 40 beekeepers from across Georgia who once again presented their honey and by products for the festival visitors. Honey themed entertainment activities for children, including face-painting, games; live music from folk ensembles and rock band were laid on, keeping the celebration spirit all day.

“I’m participating in the festival for the third time, as it helped me to get income and find new clients for honey. I think it is very important event in promotion of the beekeeping sector in Ajara, which is one of the leading honey producer regions” – Revaz Katamadze, the beekeeper from Kobuleti Municipality.

21/07/2017
Another Memorandum with the Women's Rooms of Ajara

On 18th of July, six Women’s Rooms (WRs) of Ajara region have expanded their linkages by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of Ajara Autonomous Republic. The Ministry will use the Women’s Rooms to reach the rural population though disseminating information and organizing meeting on the health-care programs implemented by the Ministry via WRs.

21/07/2017
Successful Fundraising Story from Shuakhevi

Shuakhevi municipality will have a Rehabilitation Center for the People with Disabilities soon to serve people with the special needs living in Shuakhevi, Khulo and Keda municipalities. The Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic has recently supported and financed the initiative with 196 000 Gel for its construction works.

4 months ago the municipality displayed the idea, which has been floating for years, on EEG Event for fundraising. The Deputy Gamgebeli of Shuakhevi municipality, Rusudan Shavadze, trained on the project writing, transferred the idea to the real project and the municipality was able to start attracting the funds for the implementation. After the EEG, the Association For Each Otherconducted the survey on the people with disabilities in the municipalities (Khulo, Shuakhevi, Keda) with the involvement of the local people; the Adjaristskali Georgia LLC expressed interest to make the contribution to the project; other organizations, like USAID and Embassy of France also are ready to contribute with providing training for inclusive education specialists, who will teach in the center. The contribution from each side is under discussion and will be known within month.

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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