Improving the Industry in Georgia through Sustainable Agriculture
SEATTLE — The often-overlooked nation of Georgia has emerged from behind the iron curtain in a big way during the past decade. After experiencing an economic crisis through much of the 1990s, The World Bank declared the nation the number one economic reformer in the world.
With economic reform came a litany of problems the government needed to handle. First came a wine embargo from Georgia’s largest trading partner, Russia, followed by the global economic recession.
The Georgian government decided it was time to take action on two significant barriers to its development: a majority of its population eking out a living via subsistence farming and a lack of capital and technology for these farms to thrive.
Improved Technology Means Improved Agriculture
Currently, 55 percent of Georgia’s population works in the agriculture industry, but the total economic output of the industry has fallen to around 9 percent. According to the Georgian Academy for Agricultural Sciences, a significant factor is the fact that Georgia ranks last among its neighbors in the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index.
Georgia’s radio and television companies responded by distributing content to rural areas explicitly targeted at agricultural interests with an added focus put on sustainable agriculture in Georgia. This is a simple step, but rather small compared to the efforts of Georgia’s internet technology companies.
Because of a lack of Georgian language web programs, the ability to establish business contacts, buy and sell goods, and manage business operations online were available only to those who spoke Russian or English. However, Georgian developers have worked with large companies to make search engines such as Google and operating systems like Windows available in Georgian.
Meanwhile, Greennet, a Georgian telecommunications company, has been installing wireless networks with up to 40 kilometers of coverage. The result is an increase of over 100 percent for agrarian businesses in internet-based business activities in the past year.