Who are our end beneficiaries? Part II

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Article, 18.10.2018

The SDC has been involved in Georgia’s economic and sustainable development for more than a decade. As a result, many farmers and entrepreneurs received assistance directly, and many more indirectly. Who are the end beneficiaries of SDC’s agriculture projects? Who is Kakha from the Kakheti Region?

Kakha is leaning over qvevri
Kakha poses for our camera leaning over the ancient Georgian qvevri - a clay jar for wine-making ©SCO South Caucasus

Georgia’s Kakheti region is the biggest winemaking region and it goes without saying that winemaking is a business of its absolute majority. Kakha from Kakheti’s Ikalto village chose a different path. After having tried fortune in tiling, Kakha enrolled in cheese making and over past 4 years has managed to expand his business.

It all started a few years ago, when Kakha and his friend took a loan to buy 30 cows. Shortly after, Kakha’s friend withdrew himself from the business leaving it all on Kakha. Kakha did not give up. Contrary to this, he built the business with due diligence. He now has 36 cows and employs two shepherds. He rents a farm in the valley for the winter season, while in summer he lets the cattle graze in mountains.

Kakha’s father passed away when he was just six and the challenge of raising two sons fell on mother. This circumstance shaped Kakha’s life and his business as well. As a family tradition, he often watched his mother making cheese. He has learned everything about it then. Unfortunately, he cannot pursue cheese making for it is labour-intensive.

"Food safety as well as many other factors needs to be considered carefully during cheese making. As a sole worker, I cannot diversify my business and include cheese making as well. Therefore, I have decided to work on milk delivery for now."

Kakha is brings hay to his cattle
Kakha takes a good care of his cattle ©SCO South Caucasus

Over the past two years the profit from dairy production has steadily increased. Pastures up in the mountains are now affordable and with stable income Kakha can plan to rent a pasture land for the next year.

"My family always owned livestock, so I know much about handling them... I am constantly experimenting: I feed cows different types of food and observe which one is better and in what way, and how much more milk cows give."

Kakha cooperates with a local entrepreneur David Botkoveli, who is a direct beneficiary of SDC-funded project. In summer Kakha delivers milk himself, while in winter David drives up to a winter farm. Partnership between these two businessmen proved to be successful and mutually beneficial. On the one hand, Kakha has a permanent buyer while David has a reliable supplier. This solid partnership blended with personal traits paves the way to future partnerships in other areas.

Kakha is handing over a big milk container
Every morning Kakha delivers milk to the milk collection center ©SCO South Caucasus

“Kakha is skilled and a promising farmer. Despite being so young, he has earned a reputation as a hard-worker. I have already negotiated with Kakha and promised to supply him with feed on the condition that he ensures his cows produce milk even in winter, the hardest season for milk collectors. I am also considering share with Kakha the ownership over livestock."

We’ve also learnt that David had received a grant within the frames of the "Produce in Georgia" programme (initiated by the Government of Georgia that aims to encourage and support Georgian entrepreneurs). David plans to enroll Kakha in this new undertaking.

Kakha and his wife help kids with homework
Kakha always finds time for his family ©SCO South Caucasus

Kakha runs his business alone and acquires new partners and friends on his way to success. But in private life, he found a lifelong partner 10 years ago. Kakha and Mary have two kids: 6-year old Tsiko and 2-year old Nika. While Kakha was sharing with us his business experience, Mari was open about their family business. According to her, the family fell on hard times before Kakha got engaged in dairy business. If Kakha’s income was only sufficient to cover their basic needs, now they live a more relaxed and comfortable life. They renovated their house and purchased a variety of household items. Mari used to manage all household chores by herself. The increased income allows her to hire a helping hand and spend more time with their children.