Women entrepreneurs in Georgia expand to winemaking and agritourism industries
Tourism and winemaking are the two fastest growing industries in Georgia, with tourism accounting for 6.9 per cent of total GDP and agriculture and agribusiness accounting for 9.2 per cent.
Viticulture is an important part of Georgia’s agriculture, with wine exports rapidly increasing. In 2017, 76.7 million bottles of Georgian wine were exported to 53 countries - 54 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Women are underrepresented at the owner and managerial levels in both sectors.
In partnership with the Georgian Farmers’ Association, UN Women supports women entrepreneurs from western Georgia engaged in agritourism and winemaking to expand their businesses and move up the value chain. With this aim, the partners organized a study tour for 15 Georgian women entrepreneurs to Italy to gain experience in winemaking and agritourism.
The study tour that took place between 25 November and 1 December was co-organized by Agristudio SRL and co-hosted by the national association of women winemakers in Italy “Le Donne del Vino”. The association unites women wine producers as well as women engaged in related activities: restaurant owners, sommeliers and oenologists, journalists and bloggers who write about the wine business, and communication and marketing experts.
The Georgian visitors observed seven agribusiness facilities operating in the region of Tuscany and learned how their peers manage wine cellars, farms and guesthouses. They met with local experts in public relations, hotel management, quality management and certification, marketing and sales. Legislation and the support of local government is also an important part of making any business. Meeting with a representative of the Tuscan Region Rural Development Department provided the group with an opportunity to learn about the local legislation and state-supported programmes aimed at promoting agritourism and preserving Italy’s cultural heritage.
The local legislation in Tuscany is favourable to agribusinesses. Tax incentives for the farms registered as agribusinesses encourage, among other things, buying products from local suppliers. Thus the state supports both agribusiness owners and small local producers. “I aim at combining farming and the guesthouse business. Similar types of support would enable the expansion and sustainability of my business,” said Nato Silagadze from Lechkhumi region.
The study tour is one of the activities under the project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment”, implemented by UN Women with the financial support of and in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.