USAID supports Georgia’s hazelnut producers to increase their commercial viability and deliver high-quality products to the world market.
When USAID first started supporting hazelnut production in Georgia in 2011, the sector was known for disorganization and inefficiency. Despite Georgia being the world’s sixth-largest producer of in-shell hazelnuts, its farmers and processors lacked commercial viability. Most production came from small-scale farmers producing less than one ton of hazelnuts annually.
Demand was unstable, with most of the product being sold to market speculators at low prices. Quality varied tremendously and uncertainty was the norm. As one farmer put it, “the only thing you can trust is the price.” Inadequate transportation and storage were significant barriers to the sector’s development. In many cases, by the time the nuts reached processors, they had already been damaged and lost a lot of their value.