During the last three months, theAgricultural Policy Research Center (APRC) of ISET-PI was working on a study about family farming in Georgia.Within this project, we conductedinterviews with farmers and owners ofagribusinesses. These interviews elicited many intriguing facets of Georgian agriculture, but one aspect I found particularly interesting was that Georgian farmers apparently have a rather negative view on agricultural jobs.

The FINANCIAL -- In October 2007, responding to the problem of very low birthrates in the country, Ilia II. of Georgia, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, announced that he would personally baptize any third and subsequent child born to Orthodox families from that time onwards. This promise seems to have had a considerable impact on the reproduction behavior of Georgians. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia (NSOG), the number of births increased from about 49,000 in 2007 to about 57,000 in 2008 and 63,000 in 2009. This is a remarkable 28% increase in two years’ time, while the number of births from 2000 to 2007 had been fluctuating betewen 46000 and 49000. At the end of 2008, the Patriarch for the first time baptized thousands of babies at the Sameba Cathedral, and the tradition continues until today.

The FINANCIAL -- In November 2014, the average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian Khachapuri varied across Georgian cities from 3.23 GEL, the minimum observed in Telavi, to 3.51 GEL, the maximum observed in Tbilisi. The average price was 3.34 GEL, 0.2% lower compared to the previous month (October 2014) and 2.4% lower compared to November of last year.

The FINANCIAL -- Some weeks ago, I was invited by a development bank to the Hotel Eden in Kvareli, Kakheti, where we discussed Georgia’s possibilities to develop economically. When we talked about the potential of the manufacturing sector, one of the attending bank employees said: “The problem is that Georgia does not have Rudolf Diesel and Nikolaus Otto.”

The FINANCIAL -- ISET’s Khachapuri Index has unexpectedly changed direction in November 2014. At 3.34GEL, it is 0.2% lower compared to October 2014 (m/m) and 2.4% lower compared to November 2013 (y/y). The general level of consumer prices, as measured by the CPI, also lost ground m/m (down by 0.1% compared to the previous month), however, y/y (relative to November 2013), prices gained 2.8%.

The FINANCIAL -- The average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian Khachapuri in November 2014 was 3.34 GEL, which is 0.2% lower month-on-month (m/m, that is compared to the previous month), and 2.4% lower year-on-year (y/y, that is compared to the same month of last year). However, Khachapuri became even cheaper for foreign currency earners because of a sudden GEL depreciation (m/m and y/y) relative to USD and EUR during the last two weeks of November.

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