Situation and Prospects of the Beef and Dairy Value Chain in Georgia
Achievements and Prospects

The AFD/EU-funded FinExCoop Georgia project, which was launched in August 2019, supports four value chains, both at the national/horizontal level and the pilot/local level. Beef-and-dairy is one of these value chains. FinExCoop has been mainly active in three key areas of the livestock value chain where it has contributed to substantial improvement, which is (i) fodder and feed, (ii) improving local genetics, and (iii) post-farm gate activities adding more value in the beef-and-dairy sector in Georgia.

➢ Work on fodder and feed

The FinExCoop has already successfully made numerous experimental fields (demonstration plots), mainly with advanced farmers in its pilots. These crops can be seen in the following table.

Type of Crops No of Varieties Location of the Demo Plots
Fodder Beats 6 Akhalkalaki, Adigeni, Tsalka, Kareli
Spring Peas 4 Tsalka, Kareli, Akhaltsikhe
Oat 1 Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalaki, Adigeni, Tsalka,
Dedoplistkharo, Gori, Tianeti
Maize 24 Tsalka, Adigeni, Dedoplistkharo, Gori, Senaki,
Akhaltsikhe, Tianeti, Lagodekhi
Sunflower 5 Dedoplistkharo, Gori
Winter Peas 2 Gori, Kareli, Adigeni
Winter Tritical 2 Tsalka, Adigeni, Akhaltsikhe, Akalkalaki,
Dedoplistkharo, Kareli, Gori
Winter Barley 4 Tsalka, Adigeni, Akhaltsikhe, Akalkalaki,
Dedoplistkharo, Kareli, Gori
Mixed Fodder 7 Adigeni, Dedoplistkharo, Lagodekhi
Spring Barley 1 Tsalka, Adigeni, Akhaltsikhe, Akalkalaki,
Dedoplistkharo, Kareli, Gori
Rapeseeds 9 Dedoplistkharo, Gori, Senaki
Hybrid Ryegrass 2 Adigeni, Dedoplistkharo
Alfalfa 1 Lagodekhi, Dedoplistkharo, Aspindza
Red Clover 1 Lagodekhi, Dedoplistkharo, Aspindza
Vetch 1 Lagodekhi, Dedoplistkharo, Aspindza
Sainfoin 1 Lagodekhi, Dedoplistkharo, Aspindza
Total 102 .

The project has partnered up with five international leading companies and one local company who in most cases have provided seeds for free to the project.

  • Florimond-Desprez (France)
  • Limagrain (France)
  • RAGT (France)
  • Cerience (France)
  • Saatbau (Austria)
  • Agro art (Georgia)

FinExCoop’s team of local and international experts worked collaboratively to provide trainings to local farmers on proper care of the experimental seeds. Further, our agronomists have visited the sites to track the results and check if there were any challenges so we could quickly act on them. In the end, the results were quite positive, and the farmers have seen an improvement in crop yield and improvement of soil quality.

The feeding of animals in Georgia is of great concern that, in most cases, there is no proper management of feeding, the quality of fodder is very poor and there is a general lack of fodder throughout the year, in particular in wintertime. There is a remarkably low level of knowledge towards animal feed and nutrition, as well as of the quality of fodder. Most of the time breeders give their animals what they have or what they manage to produce without worrying about a possible food imbalance, which was resulted in weak animals with low performance.

To tackle this problem, FinExCoop followed a strategy of improving the feeding of cows in Georgia. Within this scope, the FinExCoop trained breeders in all feeding techniques, which quickly allowed them to have better results. Further, the Project’s international expert designed and delivered numerous on-field training to farmers, students and teachers on feed ratios, animal feed, fodder quality and catch crops. The Project’s expert team also made fodder analyses to raise farmers' awareness towards the importance of the quality of the fodder harvested.

FinExCoop has also conducted especially substantial work on the use of co-products in Georgia to improve the efficiency of rations and reduce their cost. Within this frame, the use of beer leftovers, fruit pulp, liquorice leftovers, and residues of chacha production was implemented. These products were considered waste for the industry and hence their possible use was unknown to Georgian farmers. Thanks to the project, these products have been used in rations by Georgian farmers for more than a year and the results are excellent.

The project has extensively provided trainings on intercropping, which allows catching crops to be sown between two main crops. This technique makes it possible to obtain additional quality fodder for grazing animals or to constitute a winter stock. Within the scope of the project, numerous trials have been carried out and are in progress throughout Georgia from the west in the Samegrelo region to the east in Kakheti.

➢ Improving Genetics through high-quality semen and modern equipment such as echograph and insemination gun, improvement of local breeds through a local selection.

Today, Georgian cows do not have great genetic potential, since most Georgian cows give extremely low volumes of milk (5 to 7 litres per day) of poor quality. Therefore, farmers often receive an exceedingly small financial benefit from their cows.

To improve the livestock sector in general and to ensure farmers can receive a higher yield of milk and better-quality meat, FinExCoop started a genetic and artificial insemination initiative. Within the frame of the initiative, the Project has imported from France over two thousand doses of semen of hardy mountainous breeds well suited to local breeding conditions, which are Tarentaise, Montbeliarde and Salers.

The Project also imported a newly developed insemination gun, which makes insemination for farmers much easier and success rates much higher, as well as an ultrasound for the detection of pregnancy. Within this Project, a cooperative was established in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, and the above-mentioned equipment and inputs will be transferred to it. The Project has already started controlling cows for pregnancy, using synchronization technology to prepare them for insemination, and inseminating them thereafter. The FinExCoop mobilised its international experts to train its local expert and pilot farmers in the implementation of these innovative technologies, as well.

➢ Post-farm gate activities (putting more value in beef-and-dairy products)

One of the key elements of the project is to help farmers in their post-farm gate activities. The project aims to improve local farmers’ and cooperatives' market access and sales. This is essential for successful pilots as farmers need to see additional value from the new products they produce. In terms of beef and dairy, FinExCoop has concentrated on developing new varieties of cheese which are not too sophisticated, so that they can be produced by small farmers, especially during summer times when there is more milk. FinExCoop conducted market research and identified that most semi-hard and hard cheeses in the country are imported from the European Union and Georgia only has a handful of local producers who sell to main tourist locations. Most of the market is dominated by Imeruli and Sulguni cheese, which are sold in massive quantities, but farmers make minimum margins on these cheeses.

Cheese is so popular in Georgian culture that there is even a famous quote about it “if you don’t have kveli (cheese in Georgian) at home, then you are dead”. Georgia is a country which loves its cheese, and, in most families, we can witness people eating cheese during breakfast lunch and dinner. In such an environment, the FinExCoop Georgia team decided to partner up with farmers, cooperative members and the Georgian Cheese Association to start producing semi-hard, cream, goat, and soft cheeses as well as yoghurt.

Out of all these cheeses semi-hard cheese, Tomme became the most popular with producers and they even named it a “Wine Cheese”. Tomme was distributed through large hypermarkets and supermarkets in Tbilisi, medium and large resorts in Kakheti, and local small shops. Tomme was also bought in the "Merano Wine Festival" where it received great praise not only from those who were attending but also from more than one hundred wine producers who have exchanged contact information with the cheesemaker. Much larger margins, compared to Imeruli and Sulguni cheeses, will significantly improve local farmers' financial conditions (some farmers selling their cheese in fairs for 50-60 GEL are now selling Tomme for 90-100 GEL). This serves as a motivation for neighbouring farmers to start something new, something that can provide bigger margins for them, so they can increase their production and quality of life.

On the other hand, FinExCoop’s international cheese expert has provided trainings to local farmers on milk quality, how to check it, safely store the milk after milking the cow etc. As to produce local European Cheese, we must first have European-quality milk.

FinExCoop Livestock Week on Big and Small Ruminants

On October 18-21, 2022, the FinExCoop organised a “Livestock Week on Big and Small Ruminants” in Tbilisi in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia (MEPA), FAO ENPARD, and French FASEP. Livestock Week aimed to gather forces with other key stakeholders involved in the field, development organizations, off-takers, and suppliers of inputs and equipment to think and act together for the modernisation of the livestock value chain in Georgia.

The hybrid concept of the “Livestock Week on Big and Small Ruminants” combined:

  • The 3rd FinExCoop International Agribusiness Online Forum which was dedicated to the “Situation and Prospects of the Livestock Value-Chain in Georgia”
  • Field visits of representatives of leading international companies in the sector.
  • Practical demonstration of technologies such as the detection of pregnancy and the use of protocols of synchronization.

Some of the international companies involved in the development livestock sector came to Georgia to physically attend Livestock Week. These international companies can be found in the following. Livestock Week was also attended by international artificial insemination experts, agronomists, dairy experts, sheep and cattle genetic experts, veterinarians, and wool processing experts.

  • Evolution International
  • Illumina
  • Limagrain
  • Fromagerie Col Bayard
  • ROM
  • Sommet de l'Elevage
  • Elite Export
  • MG2Mix

International artificial insemination experts, agronomists, dairy experts, sheep and cattle genetics experts, veterinarians and wool processing experts also attended the Livestock Week.

The aim of Livestock Week was to gather forces with other key stakeholders involved in the field, development organizations, off-takers, and suppliers of inputs and equipment to think and act together for the modernisation of the livestock value chain in Georgia.

The record of the third FinExCoop Georgia International, Agribusiness, Online Forum can be found via the link below:


➢ 3rd FinExCoop International Agribusiness Online Forum

With the purpose think and act jointly together with all the active stakeholders in the livestock area to support the Georgian livestock sector to have sustainable development for this sector, the 3rd FinExCoop International Agribusiness Online Forum was dedicated to “Situation and Prospects of the Livestock Value-Chain in Georgia”.

The Online Forum was delivered on two different days over the Zoom application with Georgian-English-Georgian simultaneous translation for international and local participants to easily follow the content. The first day of the online forum, 18th October, was focused on promoting new technologies in livestock. Within this scope, international companies that came to Georgia for Livestock Week shared their best practices with the participants.

Screenshot from the 1st day of the Online Forum

The second day of the online forum, 21st October, was executed under specific working sessions which concentrated on the different livestock-related sub-agriculture subjects as follows:

  • First Working Session: Promoting better fodder and feed
  • Second Working Session: Promoting better genetics
  • Third Working Session: Promoting better breeding practices, veterinary services, and food safety for a more environmentally sustainable livestock
  • Fourth Working Session: Putting more value on livestock products

On the morning of 21st October, the first two working sessions were implemented in the morning synchronously. Participants chose one of these two sessions based on their interests and attended the preferred working session. Likewise, in the afternoon, the third and fourth working sessions were executed synchronously. Participants attended one of these working sessions in the afternoon.

More than 25 international and Georgian speakers shared their experiences and knowledge in the dedicated working sessions covering various topics.

1st Working Session

2nd Working Session

3rd Working Session

4th Working Session

The content of the Third FinExCoop International Agribusiness Online Forum was uploaded to FinExCoop’s website and can be accessed through the following link: http://www.finexcoop.com/?page_id=114

➢ Field Visits

On October 19 and 20, 2022, joint and parallel field visits were organised for international companies and other stakeholders. Within this scope following visits were executed.

  • Visiting a cattle farm in the village Lemshveniera (Gardabani)
  • Visiting an innovative Franco-Georgian feedlot in Sartichala
  • Visiting a pilot Franco-Georgian beef cattle farm (Salers breed) in Dmanisi
  • Visiting the Swiss agricultural vocational school of Dmanisi
  • Visiting a new small-scale cheese processing factory being built in Dmanisi
  • Visiting a dairy processing factory and cattle farm in Tsalka
  • Meetings with breeders of Tushetian sheep in the Dmanisi area
  • Visiting sheep and cattle breeders in Kakheti
  • Visiting new development projects for goats in Manglisi
  • Visiting a wool processing factory in Kakheti

The FinExCoop project has also organised B2B and B2C individualised meetings to enhance cooperation among international and local stakeholders in the livestock sector in Georgia.

➢ Practical demonstration of innovative technologies

During the Livestock Week, farmers in different locations were trained in the innovative artificial insemination technique "Eye breed" and ultrasound usage, for detecting cow pregnancy. Farmers were also trained in the use of protocols for the synchronization of heat. Trainings were conducted in:

  • Dmanisi cattle farm
  • Aspindza cattle farm with farmers and veterinary students from Akhaltsikhe SSI college "Opizar"
  • Advanced dairy farm in Agara

Following these trainings, farmers expressed their willingness to have access to new innovative technologies, and semen, and share experiences to improve the productivity of their cows.

For more information, please contact us via email [email protected] or reach us at +995 599 30 57 58. Please also visit our website and our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you.
  This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of FinExCoop and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.  
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