Cooperative KONA success story
Oxfam representatives visited Natalia Partskhaladze, one of the representatives of cooperative “Kona”, who was leading the demonstration event devoted to production of herbal tea together with other members of the cooperative at village Lavriskhevi located in Kaspi municipality.
One of the main objectives of the demonstration event was to present and taste various types of teas produced by cooperative “Kona”. Consisting of 5 members, cooperative “Kona” was established in 2015 in the framework of ENPARD project and with the support of Oxfam and Biological Farming Association “Elkana” cooperative members arranged a drip system and small enterprise of herbal tea.
In Europe herbal tea is used both for treatment and for relaxation. This tradition also existed in Georgia, however, during the last century Georgians preferred black and green tea.During last year cooperative members were actively working to produce and offer aromatic herbal tea, which is both tasty and healthy, to the Georgian customer.
„I’ve spent all my childhood in Lavriskhevi. I used to pick various flowers and berries together with my grandmother. I still remember the smell of rosehip tea, which I used to drink the whole winter. Then I continued my education in Paris, where I discovered the extensive herbal tea culture. There I found out that it had something to do with my grandmother’s magic” – says Natalia Partskhaladze.
With a handful of seeds Natalia slowly started experimenting herbal tea growing in her small garden, and then she established cooperative “Kona”. The name of the cooperative comes from Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani book, where the fable suggests that “power is in the unity”. Indeed this idea is the cornerstone of the cooperation itself.
This year cooperative members managed to transfer the seedlings from greenhouse to soil. Fortunately, climate of Kaspi proved to be very favorable for producing lavender, rosemary, mountain savory, lemon savory, etc. The various tea compositions were mainly suggested by the French and Georgian physiotherapists. Having different effects, some of the compositions promote the strengthening immunity, restful sleep, fat burning, etc.
From time to time cooperative “Kona” is increasing its production. As mentioned above, the tea compositions are not only tasty, but also very beneficial for health. Indeed this is the main competitive advantage of this brand –healthy and tasty at the same time.
“Kona” actively works with other cooperatives. “There are few herbs that are not produced in Kaspi region. But there are cooperatives in Barisakho for example, who support us with herbs not available in our region. Cooperation between the cooperatives is very important, because it promotes the information sharing about the new technologies” – says Natalia.
Herb-care is very easy: it does not need any pesticides. The only challenge is to irrigate the herbs, which is mainly done by drip system.
Food safety standards are highly observed at the enterprise. Entry to the enterprise is only allowed with special footwear, hat and coat. Dryer has no technological additives and functions according to the traditional methods. Ventilation is only achieved through open windows and doors. The dried products are kept in special bags in the storage rooms. The production process ends by packing various compositions and sending them to the teashops for realization.
Cooperative members believe that “Kona” has a big future, because it is the first cooperative in Georgia producing herbal tea and combines both, tasty and healthy lifestyle for the customers.