21 October 2020

TİKA Built an Organic Fruit Juice Processing Plant in Georgia

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) built a fruit juice processing plant in the mountainous region of Adjara in Georgia in order to develop and support organic fruit production as part of the “Adjara Rural Development Support Program.”

Established in the mountainous region of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara in Georgia with the limited resources of locals, whose livelihood depends on blueberry picking, Dioknisi Agricultural Cooperative processes not only blueberries, but also raspberries, wild pears, and wild apples into products such as jams and dried fruits.

Each year, up to 5,000 metric tons of blueberries grow in the villages of the districts of Khulo and Shuakhevi, which are located in the mountainous regions of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and have an altitude of 1,000-1,500 meters. Although blueberries are very beneficial for human health and used in many food products, a significant portion of this potential could not be exploited effectively since blueberry picking requires labor. Due to the lack of a processing center, blueberries would spoil and lose their nutrients significantly after the harvest.

The project minimized the loss in question, ensured the organic processing of natural products without any loss of nutrients, prepared these products for the market, increased the demand for the products manufactured through natural, organic, and reliable methods, expanded the high-value added product range, and increased the revenue of the cooperative. With this project, it is aimed to improve efficiency by using modern technologies in fruit juice processing and create new market opportunities by increasing the marketing potential of products with the right packaging choices.

By expanding the fruit processing range of the cooperative and increasing its capacity, the project aims to increase the demand for the fruits to be processed at the plant, to ensure that more villages work for the Cooperative as contract workers, and to contribute to the increase in the amount of products harvested each season. One of the main objectives of the project is to both protect small family-owned businesses financially and contribute to the employment of these families through the contract manufacturing model.

It is expected to produce 29,000 liters of blueberry juice by processing 40 to 45 metric tons of blueberries at the plant in the first production season. In addition, it is aimed to produce 35,000 liters of fruit juice by processing 70 metric tons of natural apples, pears, and grapes. Future plans include increasing the production capacity by 10 metric tons per production season in the following years. Other objectives of the project include ensuring that the cooperative sells 70% of the products locally while exporting the remaining 30%, and marketing the fruit pulp to the pastry industry after drying and grinding it.


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