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Guria/Photo by Natia rekhviashvili

Tengiz Svanidze: Georgian Tea Ratio on Domestic Market is 18%, Imported Tea Controls the Remaining Portion

Tengiz Svanidze, an executive director for the Tea Producers’ Association of Georgia, who has taken part in the Georgian Tea program development process, says the program was delayed, but it will bring positive results anyway.

“Our association has taken part in the program development process. The government has taken into account many our recommendations, but some considerations were rejected. However, the process, in general, is positive, because the Georgian tea rehabilitation program is underway. I would like to add that the program was delayed a little, because the space of tea plantations has shrunk considerably.  The rehabilitation process should have been launched after certification and inventory of tea plantations.

However, certification and inventory process was not carried out and, therefore, we rely on the information of the Agriculture Ministry consulting centers. According to this information, Georgia owns 7-8 thousand hectares of tea plantations. I cannot say how reliable these figures are.

In the first year, 2 000 hectares will be rehabilitated, the Agriculture Minister noted, but I doubt such space of tea plantations will be rehabilitated throughout 2016. Anyway, the main thing is that the program is underway”, Tengiz Svanidze said.

The head of Tea Producers’ Association of Georgia doubts physical bodies who own 2-5 hectares of tea plantations are able to co-finance the program implementation, while legal entities, which own tea plantations and manufacture tea, are able to take part in the program implementation.

„The issue is of rehabilitating the plantations and small funds will be directed to the output growth, introduction of modern machineries and production of high-quality tea. Everything depends on the condition of tea plantations.

The program will start in 2016 and if the plantation is to be pruned thoroughly, tea leaves will be picked in three years.

If only a half part of the tea plantation is to be pruned, then tea leaves may be partly picked in 2017. Everything depends on the starting condition of tea plantations to be rehabilitated”, Tengiz Svanidze said.

The Georgian tea ratio on the domestic market is only 18%, while imported tea controls the remaining market ratio. Anyway, the demand for Georgian tea is growing, he added.

“We would receive disastrous outcomes without the tea plantation rehabilitation program, because tea leaves absent in practice. The program is very good, but delayed a little”, Svanidze said and stressed the importance of AD campaigns for the Georgian tea salvation. 

“Everybody realizes the importance of advertising campaigns. Today Georgian tea manufacturers produce absolutely good-quality tea, but we lack for advertising campaigns to grow perception of Georgia tea. Georgian enterprisers cannot afford taking these costs in most cases.

Only major  company Gurieli produces high-quality tea and at the same time, conducts advertising campaigns. Other manufacturers also produce high-quality tea, but they lack for financial resources to hold advertising campaigns.

 They provide maximum efforts and somehow manage to sell a small part of their products, while a wider circle of consumers remains unattainable”, Svanidze noted.