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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
15/03/2017
Premiere of Jara

The promotion of Ajara as a world class ecological hotspot and eco-tourism destination is soon set for a massive boost. Filming on the ALCP facilitated Eco Films production ‘Jara’, a 52 minutes, a half-wildlife, half-human story observational documentary about mountains of one specific region of Republic of Georgia – Ajara, has been completed and the premiere will be held at Amirani Cinema on the 30th of March. The film has brought together various conservation stakeholders World Wildlife Fund GeorgiaCaucasus Nature FundEco Tours Georgia, Environmental Association Psovi, to produce what will be a stunning showcase of the beauty, nature and unique livelihoods of the rural inhabitants of Ajara.

The programme has already worked with EcoTours Ltd on developing Ajara as a destination for rural tourism based on nature and people.  View their promotional video here and visit their website where they offer tailor-made tours to help you unlock the beauty of the region.

15/03/2017
Celebrating Equitable Impact

Equitable Empowerment in Georgia, an event celebrating community responses to equitable local government initiatives empowering women and men in communities of three regions of Georgia, will be held at Hualing Hotel in Tbilisi on the 17th of March, under the patronage of the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia.

Please see the event website www.eeg.ge.

Up to 500 delegates - National, Regional and Local Government decision-makers, Women's Rooms managers and villages representatives, civil society and private sector and the women and men of the communities themselves - will present their motivations, methods and achievements. Likeminded people from the worlds of sport, culture, business and entertainment who seek to enrich the lives of women and men and boys and girls in Georgia in their work will speak and share their view about why this matters. Showcase stands from communities, enterprises, private sector, media and civil society will add colour and interest framed by the photographs of the municipal photo competition.

The event has been facilitated through the Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and implemented by Mercy Corps Georgia.

01/02/2017
The Women's Business Forum

The first Women’s Business Forum was held on the 31st of January, in Batumi, Ajara, the event hosted by the Association of Businesswomen of Ajara (ABWA) of the Ajara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in partnership with the Women’s Rooms municipal service. For the first time in Ajara, 140 representatives of local, regional and central government and private sector have gathered to share their experience and look for business growth opportunities. 

For more information on the event's impression here .

14/11/2016
Jara Trailer

The official trailer has been released for Jara.

More information available here.

11/10/2016
Smoked Sulguni in the Big Apple

The dream of many pop brands is to ‘make it in America’. Tsalka producer Tsezari Cheese Company, has started to do just thatSun Breath Corps a Georgian distribution company based in New York contacted Tsezari through contacts related to the programme to export the cheese. Beginning in June1,200 kgs of Smoked Sulguni has so far been exported to New York, US.  Tsezari who is HACCP certified and has been a main supplier of Sulguni cheese to the Carrefour chain in Georgia for over two years, can guarantee quality and a regular supply which is vital for successful export.

17/08/2016
Place to BEE: Honey Festival 2016

Batumi Boulevard is still buzzing from this summer’s sweetest festival, Honey Festival 2016. Organized for the second time by the Ajara Beekeepers Business Association on 13th of August. Last year’s debut festival was so impressive that this year’s festival had the support of governmental bodies Agroservice Center and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Agency of Ajara, who wanted to contribute to the festival and promote local honey production. Thus the festival was larger in scale this time, with  activities taking place over two days, starting in  Batumi Boulevard and closing in Gonio Fortress on 16th of August.

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.                              
LATEST PUBLICATIONS
DCED Guidelines for Practitioners - Measuring WEE - July 2014
Guidelines for Incorporating WEE into M4P - May 2012
Human-Wildlife Interface: Guidelines for Local LSGs - GEO Version