Smart Logistics LLC is the first and so far the only Georgian company supplying vegetables to McDonald’s fast-food chains in Georgia. Currently, it supplies iceberg lettuce, which Smart Logistics received GlobalG.A.P. certification for in November of last year. The company’s management also said there is a possibility for supplying other vegetables to McDonald’s in the near future. Smart Logistics was established in 2016 and owns 6 hectares of agricultural land in Mtskheta of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region in Eastern Georgia where the company grows lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.
“McDonald’s standards are very high, and one of their requirements of primary product suppliers is GlobalG.A.P. certification. We turned to USAID for support, which provided us with both financial and technical assistance. We decided to start with iceberg lettuce and after receiving the certificate for it, we began supplying it to McDonald’s in the same year. We plant iceberg lettuce twice a year; not all at once but in small batches so the harvest takes several months. We are now continuing to harvest the lettuce that was planted in spring. At the same time, we are planting seedlings for a second harvest, which usually lasts until the first days of December.
“I want to note that we meet all the requirements of both GlobalG.A.P. and the McDonald’s chain itself. There are about 250 of them in total, which also applies to the availability of properly equipped wet points on the farm, separate warehouse for plant protection products, fire safety, etc. I would like to note that every 3 months, we analyze the drinking and irrigation water in our area as well as to conduct soil analysis to ensure the absence of harmful substances.
“In the first half of 2020, we expected to receive GlobalG.A.P. certification for our other vegetables grown in the Mtskheta region. We have all the necessary infrastructure and the documentation has been collected, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented the planned arrival of the international auditors. Nevertheless, we expect to complete this process by the end of the year. Currently, negotiations are underway on this topic. Either the specialists will arrive in person, or taking into account the current realities as well as the fact that since the issuance of our GlobalG.A.P. certificate there has not been a single criticism regarding our iceberg lettuce, the process will be completed remotely. After that, we plan to offer McDonald’s our tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions as well,” Levan Trapaidze, founder of Smart Logistics, told EastFruit.
Mr. Trapaidze also noted that the GlobalG.A.P. certification gives his company the opportunity to develop access to European markets. Also, this year the company leased 10 hectares of agricultural land in Marneuli of the Kvemo Kartli region of Southeastern Georgia. “This is part of our expansion plans. We now grow tomatoes there. Further plans will depend on the situation in the world market and directly in Georgia,” he said.
“The USAID Agricultural Program and McDonald’s signed a memorandum of cooperation in October 2019. This document provides for USAID’s assistance to the partnership between McDonald’s and the beneficiaries of this program. At present, work is underway to establish cooperation between McDonald’s and two more Georgian companies,” according to the USAID office in Georgia.
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