Since 2018 Pakka has been promoting sustainable almond projects in Kakheti, East Georgia by the local NCC (Nut Cultivation Company), thus supporting the development of one of the largest organic almond plantations in the country. Farmers should benefit from jobs and valuable know-how transfer.
The cultivation of organic almonds is still in its infancy in Georgia, although the cultivation conditions are very suitable, especially in Kakheti. The dry climate of Kakheti (with 700 mm of rainfall per year) is perfectly compensated by the Iori River, making it an ideal place for growing nut crops such as almonds. The climate favors the drying of the almond crop without fungal attack. The only problem is a prevailing wind, which depends on a natural wind protection from trees.
Organic farming is a difficult task that requires many adjustments. Some of the methods include the mechanical removal of weeds between trees and cover crops to reduce weeds between rows. We are currently looking for a way to install solar-powered irrigation pumps to ensure the sustainability of production and to be able to guarantee the lack of electricity in the production area. NCC has developed a very professional approach to the cultivation of organic almonds and has started a first test planting of 20ha and 3 almond varieties in 2018. After a 5-year pilot phase, the goal is to promote and expand almond cultivation up to 300ha. To achieve this, both own resources and an “outgrowers project” in partnership with local farmers are necessary. This gives the Georgian agriculture or the region of Kakheti the opportunity to develop “almonds” as a new product. In addition to almonds, the potential for hazelnut production is also being evaluated. Through this synergy, Pakka Georgia would benefit from a stable and large volume of high quality hazelnuts.