The FINANCIAL — This week we use the Khachapuri Index to look at Georgia’s broader economic geography. We do so on the basis of price data for more than 100 products from each and every Georgian municipality, which were collected by the Georgian government with assistance from ISET and EU’s European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).
We used this data for September to “cook” one standard portion of Imeretian Khachapuri for Georgia’s main regions. The map we produced (see below) shows how the Khachapuri Index increases from east to west. In Georgia’s eastern provinces the Index ranges from 2.88 GEL (in Samtskhe-Javakheti) to 3.14 GEL (in Mtskheta-Mtianeti). In the west, the Index only starts at 3.24 GEL (Imereti); it achieves its highest value in Adjara (3.61 GEL), marking an extension of a successful tourism season.
The largest and most expensive component in the Khachapuri Index basket is Imeretian cheese. Thus, the Index reflects local demand/supply conditions concerning this uniquely Georgian product.
Interestingly, while finding each other far apart on the Khachapuri Index map, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Adjara are situated right next to each other. The more than 25% gap in prices appears to create great arbitrage opportunities, yet, these would not be easy to realize: the two regions are in fact separated by the 2025m Goderdzi pass and difficult mountain roads, which prevent Samtskhe-Javakheti from enjoying the benefits of tourism development in Adjara.