MZA CHITILI is the first company in Georgia to produce ordinary and grafted seedlings. The company offers customers a sophisticated, flexible service and high quality vegetable and flower seedlings. It produces vegetable and flower seeds and fresh vegetables in its greenhouses, and then distributes them to supermarket networks. The aim of MZA CHITILI is to introduce foreign technologies in Georgia which will help the local farmers to improve their knowledge and skills in the field and get a larger, higher quality yield at lower cost. To find out more, GEORGIA TODAY talked to the General Director of MZA CHITILI, Erhan Zorlu.
How was 2021 for your company?
2021 was problematic for numerous reasons. Goods we purchased from China weren’t able to arrive on time because of transport issues, and costs in general were way up, and still are. This supply chain problem brought several knock-on effects to the market. There were several issues in Turkey, too, as its economy is very bad, the dollar is always fluctuating, and this is making life difficult for the factory in Turkey, which also sometimes experiences supply chain problems. This in sum means the market couldn’t receive goods as cheaply or as quickly as before. It makes Georgia very important, though, because we are very close to our planned Asian market destinations of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
How is 2022 looking for your company so far?
I can’t predict what will happen over the next year. As I said, there are so many problems in the market these days. Another is being able to get our hands on plastic materials. The price in Turkey is high because they stopped importing recyclable materials from Europe. We were buying from Ukraine and Russia, but since the war started, getting it’s been getting harder. We’ve been forced to make original materials, and our costs have grown. To be honest, we’re a little uneasy right now, seeing our costs increasing, so we are acting as cautiously as we can.
How is Georgian agriculture faring?
Agriculture is developing in Georgia. Export is also on the up. But the problem is that in Georgia, fewer people are working in the agricultural sector this year compared to last, likely because the population is lower than last year. Overall, though, agriculture is improving, with people getting training and gaining knowledge in the field.
What opportunities are there for business and agriculture in Georgia?
Georgia is a very good place for agricultural activities. As I told you, today, many countries are experiencing supply chain problems. In Turkey, people are not producing tomatoes, because energy costs are very high there. It makes agriculture a better business to be in, in Georgia. Agriculture is becoming more profitable worldwide, because prices are high, and it means that in Georgia we can make better money. It’s a sector with a very good outlook. But it’s not without competition- developed countries are still active in the agricultural field, and making money from it. Here, In Georgia, we need to concentrate and raise the bar to be better and stronger.
What is behind MZA CHITILI’s success?
MZA CHITILI was a big investment with the aim of being the best in its field. Our seedlings are different. Normal seedlings have 6 clusters, but our seedlings have 12.
Can you talk about future plans?
We want to produce more in Georgia, and we want to export more to Asia. This is our future plan. We’re on the right direction, but it needs time, it won’t happen quickly. We’ve identified the need for more and bigger green houses to get better results. We already have the resources we need to develop this business. We’re growing and giving our energy to the markets, and I believe in our future growth and success.
Interview by Mariam Mtivlishvili