Georgian tea – with its old history & new investment opportunities

Tea is the oldest Chinese culture, known in 1753 by a well-known Swedish botanist Carl Lynne, first described as a scientific name (Thea). Tea is one of the best soft and most common flavors in the world and has many medicinal properties.

The Georgian tea has a 170 years of history, starting in 19th century, when the first bushes appeared in Guria. In 1864, Mikhail Eristavi first presented a sample of Georgian tea at the Russian International Exhibition in Saint Petersburg, which laid the foundation for Georgian tea worldwide.

Later in 1920s, Georgian tea-growing was recognized as a special area of economic activity. The Tea and Subtropical Cultures Research Institute was founded in Anaseuli, West Georgia, where new varieties of the tea were cultivated, focusing on tender shoots and special aromas. In 20th century, Georgia drastically increased the volume of the tea production and it was a main supplier of the Soviet Union for decades.

Nowadays, Georgia is exporting its tea to the world. According to the official information, tea plantations are still around 19 K ha, out of which 2.4 K are exploited and the rest are covered with thorn birds.

“A couple of years ago, Georgian Tea Program was launched by Georgian Government which aimed to restore tea plantations. Approximately, one thousand hectares have been rehabilitated under the program. The state help for Georgian tea and support for agricultural cooperatives will be continued, tea leaf processing technologies will be further improved and developed that will later strengthen its positions in the international tea markets and increase its export”, said Levan Davitashvili, the Minister of Agriculture of Georgia.

The main exporting country of Georgian tea is Mongolia, where 435 tons (286 900) Georgian tea has passed till 2015.

The chart gives information about Georgia tea export statistics. It is clear from the chart that 2011 and 2012 was the best years for Georgia for last 7 years.

The value of USD 15.4 million tea was Exported and USD 45.2 million was imported from 2010 to 2016.

In addition, Georgia is starting to export 2 kinds of tea species to China, which was imported from China to Georgia many years ago. The reason is that this types of tea bushes no longer exist in China. However, China is also planning to cultivate tea plantations in Georgia, as they are strongly contented with quality of Georgian tea.


The Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and China has commenced

The Free Trade Agreement between the Government of Georgia and the Government of the People’s Republic of China came into force and is implemented on January 1, 2018. Georgia-China FTA  is the first FTA China has signed with Eurasian countries as well as the first Free Trade Agreement China has initiated and achieved since the Belt and Road Initiative was put forward.

In terms of the trade in goods, Georgia will impose zero tariffs on 96.5% of China’s products immediately, covering 99.6% of the total imports from China; China will impose zero tariff on 93.9% of Georgia’s products, covering 93.8% of China’s total imports from Georgia, of which 90.9% (taking up 42.7% of imports) will have zero tariffs immediately and the remaining 3% (taking up 51.1% of imports) will gradually have zero tariff within 5 years.

Georgian wine, mineral waters, honey, tea, fruit, vegetables and agricultural products will be exported to Chinese market of 1.4 billion consumers, with zero tariffs, without extra customs fees and without any transition period. In terms of trade in services, both sides will further open their markets to each other on the basis of their WTO commitments.

In addition Based on the FTA Agreement, tariffs on Georgian sparkling wine and still wine (less than 21 containers) will drop from the current 14% to zero, starting from the first day of next year. For still wine (over 21 containers), tariff will be cut from 20% to zero as well.

The reduction will surely boost Georgia’s wine exports to China, which has already become its third most important wine export market after Russia and Ukraine. For the 2017 year, China imported about 7,585,407 bottles of wine.

Georgia-China FTA will further improve the liberalization and facilitation of bilateral trade, and will build a more open, transparent and stable trading environment for enterprises, providing more quality and cheap products and services for people from both countries. By taking the opportunity of the effect taking of the agreement, China and Georgia will comprehensively improve both sides’ practical cooperation level, thus firmly promoting the Belt and Road construction and meet common prosperity.

Construction of Anaklia Deep Sea Port Has Been Launched

The Port of Anaklia is located on the shortest route from China to Europe, a route that has become a major focal point of Chinese investments in infrastructure. Cargos will travel fast between Chinese and European Markets by Port of Anaklia.

586 million USD will be invested in the first phase of construction and The total volume of investments is USD 2.5 billion. The Consortium was founded by TBC Holding and the famous American development company Conti International LLC, which implemented projects in infrastructure and capital construction.

The first step of construction will be finished in 2020 December. And they are planning to receive first cargo in 2 years from starting construction. At the end of the construction they are aiming to handle 100 million tons of cargo per year.

In 24th December, Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili with other members of cabinet went to Anaklia to join works.

“This is the place where Europe meets Asia, Georgia is being represented as a country of international cooperation, stability and peace. I want to once again congratulate you, the entirety of Georgia and all our friends, because this place today lays the foundation of a new Georgia”, Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili said.

In addition to the Anaklia Port, JSC Anaklia City (principle shareholders are TBC Holding and Conti International) is developing a Special Economic Zone on about 2,000 hectares. The new Special Economic Zone will complement the Port’s activity and transform the Anaklia project into development of a brand new city-scale economic driver for Georgia, regional business and trade hub on a crossroad of Europe and Asia.

Deep Sea Port Technical/Engineering Information

52-Year Concession

Growth to 100MM Ton

Phase 1: 7MM Ton Capacity Port – Construction complete within 3 years of groundbreaking

Creation of a port capable of accommodating Post-Panamax Size Ships


ADC has completed a concept design for Anaklia Port and Free Industrial Zone. The design will bypass competing ports in the region with superior connections to existing rail and road infrastructure, state-of-the-art equipment and communications infrastructure, berthing for 10,000 TEU vessels, flexibility for multiple cargo and vessel types, and eco-friendly practices. Capital expenditures for each phase of the Port have been estimated according to the Conceptual Design.


Major port design aspects are the following:

Optimized land footprint (less than 40% of total 1,000 hectares).

Flexibility for multiple cargo and vessel types (Panamax, Handymax, Aframax).

Maximized facility throughput (intermodal, modern STS cranes, automation).

Minimized waterfront (dry bulk and liquid piers on breakwater).

Eco-friendly sustainable practices.

Read more information about the port:



EU & the Georgian Government review 4 years of EU support to agriculture

An estimated 250,000 rural Georgians benefited from current support, EU announces third phase of assistance worth 230 million GEL

13, December 2017, Tbilisi – At the conference “Improving Rural Lives” held in Tbilisi, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Ambassador of the European Union Janos Herman, and Minister of Agriculture Levan Davitashvili summarized the results of the first phase of the EU’s European Neighborhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgia which ran from 2014 to 2017. An estimated 250,000 Georgians in rural areas directly benefited from the programme.

The EU also used the event to announce a further 230 million GEL (77.5 million EUR) for a third phase of ENPARD to run from 2018-2021.

At the event, the official keynote speeches were followed by a session with the participation of EU beneficiaries. The representatives of EU funded agricultural and rural development projects shared their experiences and success stories, as well as discussed the challenges and future perspectives. In addition, presentation of external evaluation report on different components of ENPARD Phase I was delivered by ENPARD external evaluation team.

In the framework of the event, ENPARD cooperatives gallery and the photo-exhibition of the EU-funded rural development initiatives were organized, so the guests could observe the programme’s results.

The event was attended over 150 representatives of the Government, EU partners and ENPARD implementing international and local organizations, diplomatic corps and the media.

BUSINESS GEORGIA was a media partner of the event.


The EU supports agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EU 179.5 million (over GEL 500 million), the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase of ENPARD is centered on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. The third phases will continue strengthening the agriculture sector, and also focus food safety and quality standards and further development of the rural development model.


The Third Official Ceremony of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards

On December 6th, 2017 the Third Official Ceremony of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards was held at the Rustaveli Theatre, where traditionally 21 BEST companies among the different nominations were named.

BUSINESS GEORGIA, as a Media Partner of the Awards ceremony, is pleased to share the information about the winners:

  3. THE BEST DELUXE ACCOMMODATION AWARD – Radisson Blu Iveria Tbilisi
  9. THE BEST WINE TOURISM AWARD – Chateau Mukhrani
  16. THE BEST HOTEL OF INTERNATIONAL CHAIN IN GEORGIA AWARD – Member of Acor Group Mercuri Tbilisi Old Town Hotel
  18. THE BEST WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY AWARD – Founder of Accessible Tourism Center PARSA Tamar Makharashvili
  20. THE BEST FESTIVAL OR EVENT AWARD – was also awarded to Kolga Tbilisi Festival for unique concept, this festival managed to mark Georgia on the Photo exhibitions’ map.

The Official Award Ceremony hosted more than 700 guests: first Vice Prime Minister/Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia – Dimitry Kumsishvili; Tbilisi Mayor – Kakha Kaladze; Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration – Giorgi Chogovadze; all nominees and project partners; government sector, private business, international and local media.

Award Ceremony was opened by Tbilisi Mayor Kakha kaladze, he noted that Georgia has high potential for raising awareness in tourist destinations and the role of the each company involved in this field is important for tourism development.

Welcomed guests first Vice Prime Minister of Georgia Dimitry Kumsishvili, he spoke about the importance of tourism industry for Georgia’s economy, latest achievements of the field and significance of the project. First Vice Prime Minister awarded – Saba Kiknadze, founder of Caucasus Travel for Contribution to Tourism Development.

Co-Founder of the Award project Maryna Chayka also welcomed and thanked guests, partners and nominees for participation in the Award Project and noted projects contribution in Georgian tourism industry and its’ global aims.

Members of the professional Jury Board also welcomed the guests of the Ceremony and shared experience received as a part of the Project.  Member of Jury Board Zurab Pololikashvili welcomed guests by video, he noted the importance of the tourism Industry for country’s development, thanked Award project organizers and emphasized the importance of the project to the companies employed in this field.

320 different companies representing tourism and hospitality market from all over Georgia including hotels, travel agencies, festivals and events, restaurants, cafes, wineries, travel photographers were honorably holding the status of Nominee of Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards 2017. Each nominee was assessed in accordance with internationally recognized methodology by the Professional Jury Board, consisted of experts of international and local travel, culture and hospitality markets, who were separated according to categories depending on the kind of their main professional activity. As the guarantee of fairness and transparency of the Awards Project Independent Auditor “BDO Georgia” monitored all the processes, calculated the results and based on the points awarded to each Nominee determined the finalists and the winners in each nomination.

For the third year already Georgian National Tourism Administration on behalf of Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia is Co-organizer of the Award Project. Tbilisi City Hall is Official Supporter; Official Partner of the Award Project – Bank of Georgia. General Sponsor – Alliance Group. Sponsors: Altido; Tbilisi Business Hub; Julius Meinl; Vesta; Ardi; Keune; Sarajishvili; The Department of Tourism and Resorts of Ajara; Dinehall; Vistoria Security; Iteq; Orient Logic; Elements Group; YanAir; UPS; Domson’s Engineering; Gagra Plus; Favorite Style; Profitex; STS Hospitality; Giffer; Megatechnica; Tbilvino; Budget; Lovely Roses; Hotel Partners: City Center; City Avenue; Lopota Spa Resort; Colosseum Marina; Grove Hotel; Coral Boutique Hotel; Divan Suites Batumi; Wyndham Batumi; Chardonnay Boutique Hotel;

The main mission of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards is to encourage tourism and hospitality industry in Georgia and to promote the awareness of the high-achieving tourism business and brands that create a positive image of the country worldwide.





This year Georgia broke record in wine export

Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world and wine export plays big role for the development of the Georgian economy.

Export of Georgian wine reached a record in 2017. The Agriculture Minister, Levan Davitashvili said that more than 70m bottles of Georgian wine were sold in different countries of the world.

According to the Georgian wine agency, in 2017 January-November it is sold production of $154.8 million and the revenue increased by 49 percent while export rose by 54 percent from the same period in 2016.

Over the period of January-August, the leaders among the wine brands named by the place of origin are: Kindzmarauli – 7 752 470 bottles, Mukuzani – 2 478 937, Tsinandali – 1 959 406, Akhasheni – 861 185, Khvanchkara – 451 034, Tvishi – 172 358 and Napareuli – 121 986

China played big role for our economy by signing a free trade agreement between Georgia and China. Between January and November 6 736 081 bottles of Georgian wine was exported to China.

Top 3 countries Georgia exported wine in January-November 2017 are:

  1. Russia – 43,903,947 bottles
  2. Ukraine – 7,660,334 bottles
  3. China –  6, 736 081 bottles

“Wine export exceeds 70 million bottles in January-November of current year. By the end of the year, this indicator will increase, which means that in 2017 exported wine from Georgia will have a record number for the last 30 years,” said Giorgi Samanishvili, the Chairman of the National Wine Agency.

Totally, Georgia gained $222,4 million from the export of wine, brandy and chacha, which is a 50 percent increase compared to the same period of the 2016.

BUSINESS GEORGIA has created for its foreigner readers a special video below about the Georgian wine, which provides 10 important facts why our wine is so special for the world.

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On November 15, after three years of technical talks, during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan was signed the agreement, making Georgia part of Lapis Lazuli Corridor.

Georgian Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze signed a document which will enable Georgia to be part of a one more transport corridor between Europe and Asia.

The Lapis-Lazuli Transit, Trade & Transport Route (also known as the “Lapis Lazuli Corridor”) aims to enhance regional economic cooperation and connectivity between the countries of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

The corridor begins from Aqina in northern Faryab province and Torghundi in western Herat (both in Afghanistan), and continues to the port (on the Caspian Sea) of Turkmenbashi in Afghanistan; after passing the Caspian Sea, the route continues on to Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, and then connects onward to Tblisi, capital of Georgia, as well as the Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi; in the end, the corridor will connect to the cities of Kars and Istanbul (Turkey) at the entrance of Europe.

The name “Lapis Lazuli” is derived from the historic route that Afghanistan’s lapis lazuli and other semiprecious stones were exported along, over 2,000 years ago, to the Caucasus, Russia, the Balkans, Europe, and North Africa.

Current projects will improve infrastructure and procedures across the five countries and they are estimated to exceed $2 billion, according to RECCA VII.

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Enguri River Dam soon to be a new tourism landmark of Georgia

In 5 years, Georgia will offer to the local and international visitors the Enguri River dam, which is planned to become a unique tourist zone, making it a Georgian tourism landmark.

In 2015 the Enguri Hydro Power Plant’s arched dam, located in Georgia’s northwestern town Jvari, is being added to the country’s list of most distinguished cultural heritage sites. It has officially granted the status of National Monument.

The Enguri arched dam is the world’s second highest concrete arch dam, reaching 271.5 meters high and 728 meters wide, which is jointly operated by Georgia and breakaway Abkhazia as it lies on the Enguri River that separates the two areas.

The construction of the Enguri dam began in 1961 and completed in 1977, which was actually initiated before World War I by Georgian public figure Niko Nikoladze.

Including a specially created mix of concrete building material the building was the largest arched hydroelectric dam in the world till the construction began of a larger dam project in China in 2012.

The Enguri Power Plant is built on an area of nearly 1,000 km2, from Jvari town to the Black Sea. The electricity generated by the dam goes into grids in Abkhazia and it also provides nearly half of Georgia’s hydro energy.

The Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Culture and Engurhesi Ltd are jointly supporting the implementation of this project. The total investment cost of the construction is around 50 million GEL.

The tourist zone will cover 157 hectares and it will include a scientific center, open concert space and components for extreme sport. It will be a first industrial monument in Georgia, where a museum and media center will be built, with plans in place to install high lookout spots so that visitors can see a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Tourists can soon venture deep into the dam via 280 meters’ elevator, to discover some parts that were previously open only for workers. According to the calculations, the tourist zone will host about 400,000 tourists yearly.





Source: agenda.ge / thouse.ge


Georgia begins large projects aimed to rehabilitate the roads

Georgia is continuing to upgrade and modernize its main transport arteries in a bid to ensure roads meet international standards. Several projects will be implemented by the support of the Georgian government and international organizations.

A tender-winning Korean company will create the project in six months for the rehabilitation of these roads:

  • Achkhoti-Sno-Aklatsikhe-Juta
  • Tsitsamuri-Saguramo-Tskhvaritchamia
  • Sadakhlo-Akhkerpi near Georgia-Armenia border
  • Arkhiloskalo-Samtatskaro near Georgia-Azerbaijan border
  • Tsalenjikha-Jvari-Jikhashkari
  • Gupta-Oni
  • Tbilisi-Manglisi

Additionally, a 42 km long, four-lane new section of road will be built on the Rikoti Pass – a mountain pass which divides Georgia into its western and eastern parts.

This will be the Khevi-Ubisa-Shorapani-Argveti section of the road that will include about 90 bridges and 40 tunnels.

The Asian Development Bank will help Georgia upgrade the country’s main transport route. ADB will allocate $80 million to help improve the conditions of secondary roads in Georgia.

An agreement aims at rehabilitating around 50km of road connecting Dzirula-Kharagauli-Moliti-Phona-Chumateleti, as well as railway stations and roads leading to Borjomi-Kharagauli Park.

Also the construction of a new tunnel at the crossing of the Dariali and Devdorak gorges has begun in northern Georgia.

Within the project the two km-long tunnel will be constructed the width of which will be 8.5m.

More than 47 million GEL (about $19.62m/€16.86m) will be allocated from the state budget to finance the construction of the new tunnel, announced the Roads Department of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia.

New roads will advance tourism, trade and transportation opportunities for Georgia, simplifying for local and international businesses to operate faster. In each region, unemployed population will have new working places and modernized infrastructure.

Source: agenda.ge

Photo:  © Tamuna Ubiria


Five Reasons to Invest in Georgian Agriculture

Agriculture has both big economic and social functions in Georgia. The sector employs more than half of the country’s work force and for many families, income from agriculture is the only source of their livelihood. At present, interest in the private sector, as well as in the volume of investment is not very high. However, there are many examples of successful projects owing to local and foreign investment.


Here are the main reasons for a favorable investment environment in the agricultural sector of Georgia.


Natural Conditions

Georgian agriculture has favorable natural conditions and resources for agricultural production. We have 22 different climates in the country, including both cold and dry as well as warm and humid. Almost half of the country’s total area can be used as ​​agricultural land. Further, there are naturally favorable conditions for grain, vegetable, fruit and sub-tropical crops.


Almost the whole territory of the country can be considered as fertile land where a variety of agricultural crops are able to be harvested. At the same time, the country is rich in water resources and irrigation systems exist in almost every region.


Investment Direction:  Nowadays, cultivars such as nuts or so-called “dwarf nuts,” blueberry, blackberry and pistachio are popular. They are well adapted to the local environment, characterized by their high productivity, selling price and a core market that perfectly satisfies producer interest.


Low Production Costs

Hiring workers in the agricultural sector is quite inexpensive. More than 60 percent of workers are employed in agriculture. Between the country’s industrial sectors, agriculture is the lowest paid overall. In the first half of 2016, the index was GEL 1 per month. This number is much lower as compared to the salaries in most EU countries. Additionally, the local labor force, as a rule, is quite experienced and well aware of the agricultural production process. Most Georgian farmers have been involved in agricultural activities since their childhood and they possess a significant amount of knowledge.


Energy resources required and used in the agricultural production process in Georgia are considered to be low volume. Irrigation water per hectare in eastern Georgia costs GEL 75 and GEL 45 in western Georgia. To compare these prices with those in Europe, it is higher in many European countries:  Greece, EUR 73 to 210, Italy EUR 30 to 150, Spain EUR 62 and Portugal EUR 120.


It should also be noted that the purchase or lease of agricultural land in Georgia is also inexpensive and without any limitations.


Investment Direction:  wheat, berries, corn and potatoes.


DCFTA with the EU

After the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU, Georgia can produce agricultural products to meet the required safety and security standards which would then able them to enter the EU market with a zero custom tariff. Additionally, Georgia has an agreement with China, Turkey and the former Soviet countries about tariff reduction. These contracts simplify product export and expand the market for goods produced in Georgia which, of course, is attractive for investors.


In the process of trade with the EU, sector modernization and increasing its efficiency is needed in order for Georgia to meet required standards as well as further enable the entry of foreign companies into the country.


Investment Direction:  Bioproduction. Every day, the demand for bio products is increasing both in the EU and on the world market. A wide range of bio products can be produced by Georgian farmers. Relevant legal data about bio production also exists in the country. In 2006, the Parliament adopted the Law  on Biological Agricultural Industry which serves to regulate issues concerning the biological agricultural industry.


In Georgia, bio products such as wine, fruit juices, honey, various kinds of fruits (for example, persimmon, which is quite popular in European countries), vegetables, dairy products and others can be produced.


State Supports Agriculture

Financing for the agricultural sector has increased sharply since 2012 and the development of this sphere is one of the top priorities for the country. The state implements various large-scale projects to support agriculture and increase agricultural production.


In the 2017 state budget, agriculture will be financed by GEL 238 million. Of particular note:  low interest agro credit (GEL 42 million), viticulture development (GEL 32.4 million), food safety and plant protection (GEL 22.7 million), modernization of ameliorative systems (GEL 49 million), support for agricultural cooperative development (GEL 5.3 million), implementing agricultural research activities (GEL 6.6 million) and agricultural insurance (GEL 5 million).


Of particular note is that Georgia’s agro credit program has financed more than 700 existing and 150 new enterprises at low interest rates since 2013.


Additionally, the state is actively engaged in the following directions:  farmer awareness raising and effective agricultural extension services, data collection for market information, information gathering, processing and effective delivering of this information for workers employed in agriculture sector, compiling a farmer register, etc.


Investment Direction:  The state actively supports the development of cooperatives and provides certain benefits and preferences for them, especially for multi-functional cooperatives. The cooperatives need to have sufficient financial as well as human resources in order to develop several directions of agricultural production as well as relevant services for farmers.



In 2016, the number of visitors to Georgia exceeded 3 million while revenue from international tourism amounted to USD 2.16 billion. There are extensive opportunities for tourism development in the country with foreign visitors coming to Georgia year round. They can take part in agro tours and be involved in local agricultural activities or participate in the vintage process, harvest time, learning to make traditional Georgian products and spend time in a unique rural environment which is both new and interesting for them.


When discussing the issue of agro tourism, a look at the list of existing opportunities shows 102 resorts, 182 lands for resorts 2,400 mineral springs, 12,000 historical and architectural monuments (three are included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list), 11 national parks, 41 natural monuments and two protected landscapes.


The Georgian National Tourism Administration offers free training for those who want to start up a business in the agro tourism sphere.


Investment Direction:  Village hotels, farms, wine tours, historical monument tours.