In 2018, Beso Tevdoradze and his Georgian partners, with the assistance of the state program “Plant the Future”, planted 47 hectares of pistachios in the Taribana Valley, Dedoplistskaro municipality, Eastern Georgia. A third of the total area has already been grafted with pistachio varieties imported from Iran.
“Grafting takes place in summer, preferably from mid-June to the first week of August. The first commercial crop appears in 5-6 years. This is a traditional approach, but there is also a modern practice when the grafting takes place in a nursery. Then, with proper care, the first commercial crop can be harvested 1-2 years earlier. In our case, the grafting takes place in the orchard, although we have a certified nursery, and we are going to offer customers grafted seedlings on American hybrid rootstocks next year,” Beso explains in a conversation with EastFruit.
The pandemic has prevented growers from importing planting material from Iran due to transportation restrictions. This year this problem has already been overcome, and we will not have to bring seed stock.
“At this stage, the experiment is quite successful, because the orchard gave us the first crop this year, which we plan to harvest by the end of September. At this time, the pistachio size will be 20-22, which is an excellent result for such young trees. Next year we expect to get several tons of the so-called long pistachios, and after the orchard matures, one hectare should give us 5 tons of raw pistachios. We plan to sell the future harvest on site” Beso Tevdoradze commented.
Taribana 2016 is one of the first certified pistachio nurseries in Georgia, which provides commercial orchards with seedlings.
“With our help, pistachios have already been planted on about 160 hectares in the Dedoplistskaro region, which is one of the best places to grow this crop. South Kakheti and Kartli are characterized by a dry climate and lack of precipitation, therefore pistachios are well pollinated here, and fungal diseases are not so common. Along with the sale of seedlings, our nursery provides agronomic support.”
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, up to 300 hectares of pistachio orchards have been planted in Georgia within the framework of the “Plant the Future” program. The investments amount to 3.7 million GEL ($1.18 million), the co-financing of the Rural Development Agency is more than 1.3 million GEL ($0.41 million), while the preferential agricultural loans exceed 2.9 million GEL ($0.93 million).
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