Zaza Darsavelidze – village Tamarisi, Marneuli Municipality
Elkana member since 2010; engages in winegrowing and winemaking in his vineyard planted to Saperavi variety grapevines in the village of Tamarisi. Cooperation with Elkana awoke his interest in kvevri wine; he has arranged a marani (wine cellar) and started to produce kvevri (amphora) wine. Kvevris (clay wine vessels) he bought in Imereti (v. Makatubani, Kharagauli Municipality), from the kvevri-maker Zaliko Bozhadze. At present, Zaza Darsavelidze is the only farmer in Marneuli Municipality engaged in kvevri winemaking and organic winegrowing. To improve knowledge in the field of winemaking, he has taken Elkana-arranged winegrowing/winemaking and wine tasting training courses. In the near future he plans to supply his homemade wine to a chain of local shops.
Aleksandre Paposhvili –village Kalauri, Gurjaani Municipality
The Elkana member Aleksandre Paposhvili engages in growing Saperavi and Rkatsiteli grapevine varieties in his vineyard planted in the village of Kalauri. He has a traditional marani and makes exclusively kvevri wine. In October 2011, during vintage, the well-known French wine expert and Travel Channel TV presenter Isabelle Legeron took interest in his marani and farm. In his village, Aleksandre is one of the first to introduce organic farming methods in his farm. He has got involved in the organic certification process and very soon his farm will receive an organic certificate.
MALKHAZ JAKELI – village Khashmi, Gurjaani Municipality
Malkhaz Jakeli joined Elkana in 2006. Since then, he has been looking after vineyards using exclusively organic farming techniques. His farm is located in Khashmi village, which is famed for its Saperavi wine. The 2009 vintage Jakeli wine was organic certified by Caucascert and for several years now the wine successfully participates in both the local and international wine fairs and exhibitions. Special mention should be made of BioFach in Nuremberg - the annually held leading international trade fair for organic products, where Malkhaz Jakeli’s wine participated for the fourth time. Malkhaz Jakeli is one of the first having engaged in production of organic grapes and organic wine in his village. He has launched construction of a traditional kvevri-holding marani. At present, the Jakeli marani produces Saperavi wine, a blend of Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane wine, as well as the traditional Georgian grape vodka – chacha.
ANZOR MAISURADZE – village Nabakhtevi, Khashuri Municipality
The Elkana member farmer Anzor Maisuradze lives and works in the village of Nabakhtevi. He has initiated establishment of a union Nabakhtevi, where local farmers are incorporated. The union members have already done much good for the village (?). After joining Elkana and receipt of relevant advice, Anzor has completely converted his farm to the organic farming principles; since May 2011 his farm has been under conversion period monitored by Caucascert and soon, after the period is over, his farm products will be certified as organic. At present, the farmer grows cereals, vegetables, legumes; he has a vineyard. Every year the farmer cultivates exclusively Georgian maize varieties – Kazhovana Tetri, Kartuli Krugi, Ajameti Tetri, and gets a fair yield, out of which he selects seeding material for the next year’s planting. Last year, the farmer bought a maize milling machine, which is being actively used by other farmers as well. In 2011, with the support of Elkana he built a storehouse and has now better conditions for drying, grading and keeping his farm produce. As a result of transfer to organic farming, improvement of the skills of proper care of soil and crops, also thanks to diligence and great love for own business, the farmer can now harvest annually high-quality and safe farm produce.
VIOLETTA KUTSIA – Town of Poti, Poti Municipality
Violetta Kutsia became the Association Elkana member in 1993. Her farm, which occupies 5.4 ha land area, is specializing in cultivation of fruit, vegetables, and planting stock. She is an active user and propagator of organic farming practices and has done much to improve soil productivity by introduction on her farm of such methods as crop rotation, mixed cropping, mulching, green manuring, biocomposting and vermicomposting, etc. As a result, the completely poor, sandy soil has turned into a fertile, productive one. Thanks to long-term observations and trials, she has succeeded to cultivate staple farms crops under soil and climatic conditions of the littoral zone. In addition, Violetta is employed with the Poti Professional Training Center, where she trains young farmers, using own farm as a base for practical work. There students practically learn biological traits of different farm crops, crop tending procedures, and environmentally safe biological methods of yield increase.
TEMUR BAKHTURIDZE – village Kvemo Alvani, Akhmeta Municipality
The farmer is engaged in cow breeding and his principal activity is production of cow’s milk cheese Guda. With the assistance of Elkana’s Economic Development Department, he has arranged the cheese-making process in line with organic production standards and produces currently 2.5 tons of quality cheese per season. Temur is the first in Akhmeta Municipality having decided to engage in the organic certification process. Today his farm is in the conversion period and waiting for a organic certificate. Thanks to the production quality improvement, the farmer’s volume of sales has increased with a corresponding increase in revenues. He intends to raise the number of heads and expand the production of cheese. According to Elkana administration’s decision, Temur Bakhturidze will, as a successful farmer, be presented with a cheese packaging and weighing machine, by means of which the cheese will be vacuum packaged, labeled and so supplied to the trading network.
NANA DATASHVILI, TEMUR PLACHIASHVILI – village Khizabavra, Aspindza Municipality
Khizabavra farmers started their business practically from nothing – they built a farm on the land belonging to them on Vaio Valleys, bought cows and set going a cheese-making enterprise. With the support of Italian partners, they were first to launch in Georgia the making of a Parmesan-type cheese. Vaio Valleys are known for a diversity of Alpine grasses. The milk of cows grazed on these pastures in noted for a unique taste, the fact being also acknowledged by the Italian partners. The farmers have already gained their niche in the Georgian market – their Parmesan-type cheese made under the Italian technology has met the consumer approval. The farmers have become Elkana members and the farm is being gradually converted to organic farming techniques. In addition, they plan to expand the farm building, arrange it in line with organic agroproduction standards, also to start production of biogas.
DAREJAN KANTELADZE – village Santa, Tsalka Municipality
She is in cow breeding business and has a well-organized cheese-making enterprise in the village of Santa. The farmer owns cattle and buys milk from the villagers. Her farm is exemplary both in the zoo-technical and veterinary terms – control diseases both in own farm as well as throughout the village. Therefore, her and the village cattle are practically healthy, while the cattle products – reliable and of high quality. Today, the farmer makes 4 kinds of cheese – gouda, lori, Georgian and Imeretian, which she supplies to the hypermarket Goodwill and Bioveli shop. With the support of Elkana, the farmer intends to engage in the bio-certification process, introduce bio-framing methods and extend the range of products.
GIORGI TSIKLAURI – villages Shashiani and Vachnadziani, Gurjaani Municipality
The Elkana member farmer since 2008; engages mainly in fruit growing and is the first to plant 10 ha of land to Japanese persimmon Hachiya in the region. Regularly turns to Elkana advisory services and has completely converted his farm to the bio-farming practices. Since 2009, with the support of Elkana, has joined the certification process – the Hachiya plantation has gone through the period of conversion and its 2010 harvest yield was awarded with a organic certificate by Caucascert.
TAMAZ NIPARISHVILI – Kaspi Municipality
The farmer engages in fruit growing and has planted 50 ha of the belonging to him land to apple, peach and walnut gardens, and up to 10 kinds of berry plants. He has arranged a nursery, where he himself breeds and releases different varieties of fruit planting stock. Tamaz is the Elkana member since 2006. According to a recommendation of Elkana’s branch advisor, he arranged a drip irrigation system on the land under walnut trees and tends the area using only bio-farming methods. Also thanks to Elkana’s advice and assistance, Tamaz decided to subject the land under walnuts to organic certification. Since 2010 the 1.5-ha walnut plantation is in the conversion period with Caucascert and will be awarded a organic certificate in the near future.