The USAID Agriculture Program Facilitates First Georgian Apple Shipments to Dubai Market

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Georgian apple shipment arriving in Dubai, UAE.

In early May 2023, the USAID Agriculture Program helped facilitate an initial shipment of Georgian apples to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), paving the way for increased trade for Georgian apple growers in a new, promising and accessible export market. The trial shipment included 22.4 tons of Georgian Golden, Gala and Red Delicious apples produced by Tiriphoni Fruits, a leading Georgian apple producer, with Eximcrop LLC, a global eCommerce company that facilitates business-to-business linkages across the food and beverage industry, managing the export and warehousing of the apples in Dubai.

Through this initiative, the USAID Agriculture Program is helping strengthen Georgian fruit production and contribute to the country’s economic development by improving transportation logistics and facilitating connections between producers and buyers in new markets. This diversification of export markets comes at particularly crucial time for apple growers since the Russian market, of which 98% of Georgian apples are exported to[1], has become unstable as result of the war in Ukraine, driving more frequent market shocks.

Although the Georgian apple sector has grown significantly and increased in quality over the past 10 years — thanks to the establishment of modern intensive apple orchards — its progress risks faltering due to the sector’s heavy reliance on the Russian market and the lack of suitable alternative buyers. Addressing these challenges, the USAID Agriculture Program is working to diversify export options and tap into new markets through partnerships with innovative actors in the Georgian private sector.

Georgian Golden Apple (left) and Red Delicious Apple (right).

“Collaboration with organizations like Eximcrop has enabled us to identify trade opportunities for local producers in new export markets,” said Louisa Namicheishvili, chief of party for the USAID Agriculture Program. “By facilitating linkages with a diverse group of international buyers, we ensure economic sustainability for Georgian agribusinesses while increasing revenue and mitigating risks related with the dependence on a single market.”

The collaboration between Tiriphoni, Eximcrop and the Program fosters the diversification of agricultural markets, which results in economic empowerment and ultimately greater opportunities for inclusive, high-value employment for Georgian citizens. This is at the core of USAID Georgia’s approach and at the center of Georgia’s economic policy, in addition to serving as an important tool for economic growth and job creation.

The Program’s collaboration with Eximcrop also demonstrates the value that online platforms bring in being able to facilitate quick, adaptable and tailored shipments abroad. In 2022, Eximcrop established a refrigerated warehouse in Dubai and introduced a new service to support registered suppliers with orders to the UAE, including supporting producers to process paperwork and arrange shipping logistics. This led to Dubai being selected for the delivery of apples produced by Tiriphoni Fruits, with the potential for further trade between the two countries thanks to the success of this initial shipment.

Through its partnership with the USAID Agriculture Program, Eximcrop has been able to register a variety of Georgian agribusinesses to its online marketplace, increasing their customer reach and demand abroad. Eximcrop’s approach of matching shipments with available warehouse space has also helped producers save costs and improve the efficiency of their shipping logistics using its online platform.

By supporting Georgian apple farmers in accessing new markets, the USAID Agriculture Program is contributing to the development and long-term sustainability of the country’s apple value chain, boosting, in turn, the Georgian agricultural sector and economy as a whole. As the Program enters its final year, it aims to continue working with private sector partners to strengthen linkages and access to new markets like the UAE, enabling local producers to learn new techniques, strengthen their businesses and contribute to the sustainable growth and development of the country’s economy.

[1] https://www.geostat.ge/en

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