Hazelnut Program Print

The main strategy of the microfinance organization “Swiss-Credit” for next 5 years is the improvement of its share on the agricultural loans’ market in Georgia. The main accent to this direction made on the regions of hazelnut producing in Georgia.

The project is implementing in Georgia with a population of 4.4 million people. The country relies heavily on agriculture, which provides about 10% of Georgia’s GDP and more than 50% of employment.

According to the latest agricultural census data 728247 households use the land for food production, 99% of whom are subsistence farmers with only marginal cash incomes from sales.  Smallholders are constrained by low quality infrastructure, limited access to agricultural inputs, extension and other services and a poorly developed marketing infrastructure. Productivity is low, underemployment and unemployment rates in the sector are high and income is inadequate. Most rural households are trapped at the minimum subsistence level, unable to generate a surplus to invest in rebuilding their assets. They are vulnerable materially and psychologically.
The main goal of this project is the support of Georgia to increase the export capacity to the direction of the hazelnut production and to help the hazelnut producer farmers to increase their income according to the production quality improvement.

The Project was started in 2012, consists Georgian and foreign business-companies, Farmers’ Associations and is in tight cooperation with Government and with International NGO’s.
The main participants of the Project are:

1. Swiss-Credit Ltd. - Microfinance Organization, providing pre-financing of the hazelnut producer farmers’ financial needs by the special agricultural loan at the privilege conditions.   
2. ANKA Food SA (ANFO, www.ankaltd.ch) is a hazelnut trader and active in the Georgian market in hazelnut business since 2011.
3. ANKA Fair Trade (AFT, www.aft.ge) is our Georgian processing company, 100% owned by ANFO, who built his own processing plant in October 2014. AFT processes and exports Georgian hazelnut to the European market.  
4. Farmer Based Organizations (FBO’s) include smallholder farmer families involved in hazelnut production in three regions of western Georgia (Samegrelo, Imereti, Guria).
5. Diract sourcing GmbH (www.diractsourcing.com) is a Germany based company, handling Pakka’s nut bulk trading.
6. HEKS-EPER (HEKS, www.heks.ch) is the aid agency of the Swiss Federation of Protestant Churches and a part of the international ecumenical network for development, human rights and emergency aid.
7. ELKANA is a Biological Farming association and Georgian NGO (non-profit legal entity) and organic farmers association. Their aim is to facilitate improvement of the socio-economic state of the population of Georgia.
8. Impact Finance Fund (IFF, www.impact-finance.com) and meeewaert holding AG (meeewaert, www.meeewaert.ch).

The project activity cycle starts with the study of the financial needs of the farmers – members of the farmers’ association.
Based on the according analysis, Swiss-Credit Ltd. disburses the Special Loans for the Hazelnut Producer Farmers.
The loans are 1 year long, with the grace period during the several months and low interest rate.
Farmers are not obliged to pay loans according to the schedule, but pay it at once, after the hazelnut production sales. They don’t pay overdue payment penalty and advanced payment commission.   
The back payment of the loan is possible by the hazelnut production of the farmers through Anka Fair Trade Ltd. in case of mutual agreement.
Farmers receive the various services from the Anka Fair Trade Ltd, as: delivery of the production from the orchards to the factory without any payment by the cars, belonging to the factory, drying/cleaning of the production for the symbolic price, charge free storage of the production at the factory in the optimal conditions of the quality provision, guarantee of the production sales in most convenience period for the farmers with the requested quantity, receiving of the highest market price + premium for their production. At the same time the farmers are free to think about the production sales and loan back payment.

The Project supports to increase the quality of the Georgian hazelnut, improve the productivity, export capacity and the income of the farmers and their life conditions.

The other important directions of the Project’s activity is the providing of the training programs for the farmers in order to give them the advanced knowledge & skills and the process of the Georgian hazelnut International certification, which opens the doors for our production to the World’s market.

Swiss-Credit is participating in the project during last 5 years and disbursed USD 550 000 to 900 farmers approximately.
The company plans to increase the number of the Project participant farmers up to 2000 for the next 2 years.