Joint support to the SMEs in organic tea production from the EU, Sweden and Austria

2021, 09 August
გააზიარე

Georgia has a centuries-long tradition of growing herbal tea. Shota Kopaliani lives in the village of Chalistavi, in the Tsageri region. He inherited the culture of tea-making from his ancestors, and to this day he takes care to preserve and develop it. He is one of the entrepreneurs who has managed to develop and grow his own production with the support of the EU/Sweden/Austria co-funded GRETA project. With the support of the project, his enterprise was equipped with machines for processing and drying the wild plants. It is with these devices that he will be able to produce certified organic tea.

Although the price of tea produced in the country is low, and its quality is mostly better than that of imported products, imported tea still occupies 80% of the market. Entrepreneur Shota Kopaliani saw an opportunity to start producing certified organic local tea. In his opinion, Georgian tea has high potential to compet

Georgia has a centuries-long tradition of growing herbal tea. Shota Kopaliani lives in the village of Chalistavi, in the Tsageri region. He inherited the culture of tea-making from his ancestors, and to this day he takes care to preserve and develop it. He is one of the entrepreneurs who has managed to develop and grow his own production with the support of the EU/Sweden/Austria co-funded GRETA project. With the support of the project, his enterprise was equipped with machines for processing and drying the wild plants. It is with these devices that he will be able to produce certified organic tea.

Although the price of tea produced in the country is low, and its quality is mostly better than that of imported products, imported tea still occupies 80% of the market. Entrepreneur Shota Kopaliani saw an opportunity to start producing certified organic local tea. In his opinion, Georgian tea has high potential to compete with imported products on the local market:

“In Lechkhumi, nobody produces tea besides us, and so we do not have competitors. Our only competitor is nature – giving us the source of livelihood. Also, it is noteworthy that all these products are used for treatment purposes. My wife and I decided to turn this activity into a business some six to seven years ago. With our own hands, we made a dryer. The necessary equipment was very expensive and unfortunately, we couldn’t afford it, so for years it was hard for us to expand. Whatever we made, we invested in this work. The GRETA project was like salvation for us. It helped us avoid the loans which would take us a lifetime to cover. If not for the support of the EU, Sweden and Austria, we could never have done all this independently,” says Shota Kopaliani.

The machines given to Shota Kopaliani within the framework of the project will enable him to give the product its final, marketable look – a roller and four dryers were added to his enterprise, also a device that will package the tea in 100-150-gram bags. The cardboard packaging machine will give the product its final look.

“Apart from this, as part of the project, we will receive a pickup, a car that we need to find and transport the primary product. All the plants that we make tea from grow in the wild, in the mountains, on the cliffs and are difficult to pick. We have an old car, we try to reach these places by car, as far as we can get, then in the mountains, we continue on foot. Besides, the leaves are perishable, they overheat and if we do not bring them back soon, they may overheat and wither. Purchasing a pickup is essential for our production,” says Shota.

Currently, Shota’s enterprise produces the tea from blueberry, blackberry, linden, wild quince and rhododendron. Now, with EU support, he has the basis to think about expansion in the future and give the experimental tea blends from various leaves the look of the final product, an opportunity he did not have before without the necessary equipment.

GRETA also helps beneficiaries throughout the process of obtaining the bio-certificate, which doubles the reliability of the manufactured product and creates the opportunity to enter the international market. Additionally, the project helps the participants to communicate with large companies in marketing direction, which increases the potential for rapid market penetration.

The GRETA project – ‘Green Economy: Sustainable Mountain Tourism and Organic Agriculture in Georgia’ has been ongoing for 2 years with the support of the European Union, Austria and Sweden, and is implemented in Georgia by the Austrian Development Agency. The project aims to facilitate the improvement of the business environment and increase opportunities for generating additional income for the Georgian economy in two important sectors, mountain tourism and organic agriculture. Small and medium entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to receive the necessary financial assistance to improve their production and services, discover new market opportunities and through locally produced high-quality products, compete with imports. The project is implemented in close cooperation with the local government and involves the regions of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti and upper Imereti, where the entrepreneurs are involved from the municipalities of Mestia, Lentekhi, Tsageri, Oni, Ambrolauri, Sachkhere, Chiatura and Tkibuli. At this stage, the project involves 400 small enterprises engaged in tourism and 230 farmers engaged in organic agriculture, who receive various types of assistance from the project.


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ევროკავშირის, შვედეთის და ავსტრიის ერთობლივი მხარდაჭერა ბიო ჩაის მეწარმეებს
ევროკავშირის, შვედეთის და ავსტრიის ერთობლივი მხარდაჭერა ბიო ჩაის მეწარმეებს
ევროკავშირის, შვედეთის და ავსტრიის ერთობლივი მხარდაჭერა ბიო ჩაის მეწარმეებს
ევროკავშირის, შვედეთის და ავსტრიის ერთობლივი მხარდაჭერა ბიო ჩაის მეწარმეებს
ევროკავშირის, შვედეთის და ავსტრიის ერთობლივი მხარდაჭერა ბიო ჩაის მეწარმეებს