Georgia’s Abundant Climates Create a Delicious Horticultural Rhapsody
EBRD and EU enhance access to finance for SMEs in Georgia
Nothing is more delicious than aromatic fruit that delight your taste buds with memories of rich soils and days full of sunshine. Georgia’s unique geography, with a subtropical climate in the West and a European climate in the East, provides the ideal conditions for growing such fruits and vegetables. This variety of climate conditions combined with fertile soil enables the Georgian company Aroma Product LTD to use each square meter of its plantation for growing root, leaf and berry that burst with taste, freshness and goodness without tarnishing products with any chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
The story of founding of Aroma Products LTD takes us back to the times of the heady ‘90s in a post-Soviet Georgia where the entrepreneurial spirit had just begun to take root in a burgeoning private sector. Developing a company concept that is based on the preservation of nature’s abundance without any additives required courage and patience. But the adventure that Aroma Products embarked on paid off. After a few decades of dedication to quality and love for the gifts of nature, the final products still reflect an ideology of purity, and allow customers to celebrate the organic taste of fruits – just like that.
Currently, Aroma Product operates 300 hectares of organic farm, certified by ECOCERT. Crop rotation and diversified planting strategies limit the company’s exposure to crop failures and meet changing consumer preferences. The portfolio of finished products includes a wide variety of high-quality fruit and berry juices and jams. That means the quality focus does not end with the cultivation of merry berries that delight the company’s customers abroad. Meeting the quality standards of its European customers means extending same diligence to processing equipment. To further increase its export potential to Europe, the company recently invested in the upgrade of its processing equipment.
“When we decided to further expend exports of our products to international markets, we had to purchase modern equipment, so we decided to invest in machinery and our company’s development,” says Lado Gugushvili, company Director.
As the company expects annual harvests of 40,000 metric tons of fruit and berries on their plantations in the next 4 years, complemented by fruit and berries collects in the wild mountain regions of the Caucasus, Lado Gugushvili continues: … it is essential to have modern production lines and storage facilities to keep the collected harvest fresh and to avoid spoilage and losses. Technology is developing fast and changes the ways we operate, and the food and beverage industry is no exception. It is essential to constantly offer the highest-quality, modern standards and innovative solutions.”
The new production line of LTD Aroma Product was financed with a loan from the EU4Business-EBRD Credit line and the company received a grant financed by the EU4Business initiative, provided by the European Union. One year has gone by since the new equipment arrived and was installed. The company’s results pay tribute to the Director’s words as the market share and sales of the company have increased significantly.
The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is available to companies in three countries to enable access to finance, new technologies, new markets. Eligible SMEs can apply for loan funding via partner banks in these countries. They also receive technical assistance and, upon successful completion of their investment plans, grant incentives, both funded by the EU.
The programme directly benefits companies and consumers in several ways: business owners can meet their aspirations to run modern, well-equipped enterprises. Employees can learn much from working with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, master new skills and enhance their competitive skills while also enjoying a safe working environment. Consumers locally and abroad have access to products of the highest quality.