A major Georgian tea maker adds dried fruit to its selection
The highland area of Imereti region and the Tkibuli municipality are where nature works in harmony to provide high-quality certified Buetea. During the harvest, tea leaves and cockles are handpicked then dried and twisted, resulting in an exceptionally rich, aromatic and delicious tea.
Okriba, a company founded in 2019, started by rehabilitating over 50 hectares of tea plantations. A year later, they already harvested 14 tonnes of tea. In two years, they also built a tea and fruit processing plant and equipped it according to food safety standards.
“With the EU, Sweden and Austria’s support in the frame of the GRETA project, we’ve been able to work year-round, instead of just 6 months,” explains Vladimer Dzneladze, co-founder of Okriba. “With the necessary equipment in place, we have also started producing dried fruits, on top of certified tea.”
The company acquired a bubbling washing machine with an ozone generator, a fruit slicing and packaging machine, and other equipment with donor’s assistance. As a result, it has expanded production to organic dried fruits, including wild apples, plums, pears and others, all delicious fruits harvested in western Georgia.
Okriba’s founders believe that local enterprises slow down migration from Georgia’s mountain villages by providing jobs for locals. More than 100 people work seasonally at their plantation, producing harvests of about 6 tonnes of tea each year. The enterprise’s core staff is 10. With more production and higher demand, the workforce is expected to grow in the future.
Buetea is already well known on the Georgian market and is offered in different forms: from loose tea and teabags to pyramid-shaped bags made of biodegradable materials. The enterprise has also made a deal with a German company that is introducing Georgian certified tea to French and Dutch markets.
GRETA | Green Economy: Sustainable Mountain Tourism and Organic Agriculture in Georgia’ is supported by the European Union, Austria and Sweden, and is implemented in Georgia by the Austrian Development Agency. The project aims to facilitate the improvement of the business environment and increase opportunities for generating additional income for the Georgian economy in two important sectors, mountain tourism and organic agriculture. The project is implemented in close cooperation with the local government and involves the regions of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti and upper Imereti, where the entrepreneurs are involved from the municipalities of Mestia, Lentekhi, Tsageri, Oni, Ambrolauri, Sachkhere, Chiatura and Tkibuli.
This material has been produced with the assistance of the European Union, Sweden and Austria in the frame of the GRETA project and with the collaboration of the EU4Business umbrella programme. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the GRETA project and EU4Business umbrella programme and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union, Sweden and Austria.