Building upon tangible results of the EPI project in the development of Georgian hazelnut sector, EPI, GIZ Private Sector Development Programme South Cau­casus in Georgia and PTB recently teamed up to launch a pilot project on improvement of hazelnut quality systems and infrastructure by assessing product value chain through a Calidena value chain methodology.

Calidena methodology was developed by Germany’s National Metrology Institute, “PTB”, to help identify and promote practi­cal activities that strengthen quality services for a value chain in order to increase the com­petitiveness of SMEs in developing countries. Calidena is a participative learning process that focuses on a value chain analysis that includes a variety of stakeholders within the value chain, including quality infrastructure providers, such as laboratories, accreditation or standards agencies. PTB is supporting the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable De­velopment and GIZ to transfer the Calidena approach to Georgia, focusing on the quality services for the foodstuff and other industries. GIZ, PTB and EPI, in its turn, started the pilot project in the hazelnut sector.

The Calidena hazelnut pilot activity will evaluate the possibilities to strengthen the ser­vices of the quality infrastructure institutions in Georgia for the hazelnut value chain. The pilot aims to link the quality infrastructure institutions, such as laboratories, Georgian Accreditation Center or Georgian National Agency for Standards, Technical Regulations and Metrology (GEOSTM), to strengthen their services for the hazelnut industry. During the initial focus group meeting with the hazelnut farmers, processors, and buyers, the EPI-PTB-GIZ team evaluated all aspects within the value chain to identify the main weaknesses in the area of existing quality systems and existing quality services that are available for the value chain. Once the assessment is completed, the EPI-PTB-GIZ team will facilitate a development of a detailed action plan for the next 6-12 months. The cooresponding workshop will take place on 11th and 12th October 2012. The stakeholders will be provided support by EPI, GIZ and PTB in the implementation of recommended activities.

In case of success the implementation of Calidena methodology will eventually lead to the im­provement of exportable hazelnut quality that can meet European buyer requirements. This, in turn, will increase hazelnut exports to the EU countries, enabling Georgian producers and processors to generate more revenues and expand their activities.