Georgian hazelnuts face new quality tests to boost exports
To strengthen the country’s role as a major global hazelnut exporter, Georgia is launching a new program to increase the quality of exported nuts and sell them worldwide at a premium price to improve the economic livelihoods of more than 50,000 local hazelnut growers.
Hazelnuts are Georgia’s most exported product but a new project aimed to solidify Georgia’s role as a top international hazelnut exporter.
Georgia’s Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili met organisations involved in Georgia’s hazelnut industry yesterday to discuss the Georgia Hazelnut Improvement Project.
The project was created earlier this year to support the export of hazelnuts by broadening, deepening and advancing public and private sector development of the country’s hazelnut industry.
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the project worked to ensure Georgia’ produced a higher quality of hazelnuts that would make the country more competitive and increase demand for Georgia’s nuts in the world markets.
The program will be implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Washington, D.C. and Brussels, Belgium with offices in 16 countries throughout Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe including Georgia.
Currently Georgia is the fourth largest producer of hazelnuts worldwide and supports the livelihoods of more than 50,000 growers and 30 processors. Yet due to inconsistent quality and lack of market distinction, Georgian hazelnuts often sell at a discount to neighboring Turkish hazelnuts, resulting in lower prices and reduced profitability,” said CNFA.
Hazelnuts are a major agricultural product for Georgia and have been the country’s largest agricultural export by value since 2014, when more hazelnuts were exported than Georgia’s traditionally top exported product – wine.