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Mikheil Chkuaseli: Current Year is a Turning Point in Georgia’s Tea Production

Mikheil Chkuaseli, a director for GeoPlant, a manufacturer of Georgian tea Gurieli, says the year of 2015 will be a turning point in the tea production. Chkuaseli told the InterPressNews news agency, the meeting between the Prime Minister and businessmen discussed the tea production development issues and the Prime Minster pledged to provide a maximum support to this direction.
“The meeting for discussing regional projects are vey important. We have conducted open and frank discussions. We have stressed the tea is a main product for the Guria Region. All of us are proud Georgia is the cradle of winemaking and the country provides maximum efforts for Georgian wine popularization. At the same time, our country has got a 200 year history of tea production. Georgia was recorded in the five leading tea production countries in the Soviet Union. I believe the tea is one of the important products and we should provide maximum support to this field. The Government head agreed on this consideration too and partner businessmen have also expressed willingness to make the tea a brand product in Georgia. This will be very important and it will concern not only the Guria and Samegrelo Regions. We have got an unique opportunity to produce fruits tea, plants tea and we have involved Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Kakheti and Samtskhe-Javakheti Regions and I believe this will be a very vital direction for the whole country”, Chkuaseli said.
As to the Guria Region, GeoPlant has been implementing one of the major projects there. The project consists of two components: 1) a construction of a new tea packing enterprise as part of the Produce I Georgia project. The enterprise will be built on 1300 square meters and will be equipped with the most modern technologies. Another component includes a rehabilitation of tea plantations and a reconstruction of the primary production and renovation. In 2015 we will rehabilitate 250 hectares of tea plantations, of which cleaning works have been already performed on 87 hectares, fertilizers have been added to receive high-quality harvest and considerably increase the output on a hectare. For comparison, before the project implementation, in previous years we could pick only 1.5 tons or 2 tons of tea on a hectare. This year we expect to pick 3.5 tons on a hectare, including 1.5 tons of high-quality tea leaves. In the coming years we expect the output will rise to 5-6 tons on a hectare. As to the primary production rehabilitation, we will carry out the works in 2015 and implement serious investments at the end of 2015 and in 2016 in the processing direction. We will import a special Japanese technology to produce Japanese-type green tea. Moreover, this year we will launch the white tea production and this will be a unique fact for Georgia, because so far Georgia has not manufactured the white tea. All the above-mentioned will enable us to increase the output”, Chkuaseli said and added besides the Guria Region, rehabilitation works will be carried out on 50 hectares of tea plantations in the Samegrelo Region too.