EPI Study: Georgian Heated Greenhouse Vegetable Industry Feasibility

This report explores the past, present, and future of greenhouse-grown vegetables in the Republic of Georgia.

To properly contextualize greenhouse growing in Georgia, the report looks first at the history of greenhouses in the region, both during the Soviet era and after Georgia’s independence in 1991. Many greenhouses were built in the decades that Georgia was a part of the Soviet Union, but the transition to a market economy in the past two decades has significantly changed the way that they operate. Market-based fuel prices make heating some greenhouses exorbitantly expensive and the industry is a fraction of what it once was.

Several suggestions are made for the development of an economically viable future for heated greenhouses and greenhouse-grown vegetables. Many are ground-level issues, such as understanding the importance of temperature, humidity, and wind; knowledge of grafting methods; and information about proper spacing, variety selection, and nutrient management. There are also some higher-level administrative and organizational suggestions, such as the formation of working groups and greenhouse growers associations. These types of organizations will serve as a vital web of support for the development of viable and efficient greenhouse vegetable production.

The report also describes a newly created Greenhouse Budget Template, a tool that investors, owners, and growers can use to determine the economic feasibility of the changes recommended in the report. Throughout the report, there are suggestions of how to most efficiently use the Greenhouse Budget Template.

A final section of recommendations contains specific suggestions for how to best implement many of the ideas presented earlier in the report. Included are instructions on what types of personnel would be required to maintain and manage efficient greenhouses, what systems might be necessary for interns and consultants, and an overall plan for building a support network of growers, investors, and consultants.