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Hazelnut production is one of the leading export positions in the business of agriculture in Georgia. However, the domestic consumption of hazelnuts in Georgia mainly depends on international markets. Therefore, it is essential for Georgian processors and exporters to receive up-to-date information about current market trends and opportunities, including the impact of the pandemic on target markets and changes in supply chains.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated certain trends already present in the supply chain, this is something that could be harnessed to build opportunity for Georgian businesses.

The EU-funded Ready to Trade project, an EU4Business initiative implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC), organised a series of webinars for project beneficiaries to receive in-depth analysis of prospects in the hazelnut market in the longer-term on a global scale, including how Georgian exporters can benefit from this.

The series of webinars were conducted by James Fitzpatrick, an expert in trading and developing supply chains globally, who has more than 30 years of experience in this field and is an advisor to small- and medium-sized (SME) enterprises from all over the world on how to get access to global markets and gain international contacts.

"We started with an in-depth overview of the market, went into detail – looked at the impact of the pandemic, looked at opportunities in the market, and projected forward. We discussed opportunities for exporters to the European market using some of the ITC trade map tools and using inputs from buyers. This mix of researched content, using the ITC tools, and bringing that together with an interactive discussion was very successful to my mind," said James Fitzpatrick.

"We realised that some of our beneficiaries had taken key steps in building bridges to farmers and forming farm associations, something which hadn’t been seen in the past and something which is an impediment to meeting European rules on traceability, sharing food safety, and ensuring competitiveness of the supply chain," James added.

The workshop was organised by the Ready to Trade project. The project aims to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Georgia and other Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries integrate into global value chains and access new markets with a focus on the European Union (EU) with targeted capacity-building, advisory services, and market access activities. The project also assists SMEs in producing value-added goods according to international and EU market requirements while linking them with buyers from global value chains.

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