Together with partners, FAO and EBRD, the EastFruit project organized a unique event in Tbilisi (Georgia) in mid-November 2022 – the international conference “Nuts of Ukraine 2022: exchange of experience with Georgia“. Representatives of both countries shared their experiences and learned from colleagues. The speech of Ruslan Sula, a well-known expert in Ukraine and Georgia, was notable. In his presentation “Peculiarities of Ukrainian nut growing and what can be learned from Georgia”, he compared the conditions for the development of the industry in both countries. Ruslan Sula studied the experience of nut growers in Italy, Turkey, Moldova, Georgia, and other countries, but he calls the experience of Georgian colleagues the most useful for Ukrainian producers, especially in the cultivation and processing of hazelnuts.
Ruslan Sula compared the current state and prospects of such aspects as climate, agrarian policy, financing, land access, soil fertility, area of agricultural lands, agricultural technologies, processing, and logistics to the European markets.
According to Ruslan Sula, the conditions for doing nut business on the first four points are more favorable in Georgia, and on the next ones – in Ukraine. The specialist highlighted the large state support for nut growing in Georgia. There are several programs, including Plant the Future, under which nut producers and processors receive preferential loans and/or compensation from the state for the creation of nut plantations, the purchase of seedlings, necessary agricultural machinery, and equipment. Ruslan Sula states that, unfortunately, it is much more difficult to establish and run a business for nut growers in Ukraine.
Climatic conditions in a quite large part of Ukraine are suitable for growing nut crops. The temperature and humidity indicators in western regions of the country are similar to the regions of Georgia specializing in hazelnut production. The experience of Georgian colleagues is very useful for Ukrainian nut growers in this aspect.
As for the logistics component, Ukrainian exporters were more fortunate – the country is closer to the main European markets – the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.
As the President of the Ukrainian Nut Association Gennadiy Yudin, who presented earlier at the conference, did, Ruslan Sula drew attention to a very promising segment of organic production of nuts – walnuts, in particular.
The production of organic nuts in Ukraine is increasing, and the profile association has named Ukrainian varieties of walnuts suitable for organic production. These varieties are pest and disease-resistant and meet stringent EU and US organic standards.
There are certified nut orchards in Ukraine. One of the important tasks for the near future is to further certify both the nut orchards and the grown nuts, and the products of their processing. According to Ruslan Sula, the certification takes 8 years.
See the full speech by Ruslan Sula here:
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