Demand for eggs in Georgia exceeds supply. In a few months, the company will almost double the number of eggs it collects daily.
Employee numbers will increase from 100 to 130—a boon for neighboring villages hard hit by the collapse of big agriculture a decade ago.
When demand is lower, they exports eggs to Iraq. Chicks are bought abroad and raised until they are old enough to lay eggs. The owners dream to one day hatch their own chicks, and also to process chicken meat.
“The potential of our factory is big. We plan to become a giant agricultural company, ” added Mr. Edisherashvili.
Elguja Nozadze also has big dreams. His company processes poultry—two thousand five hundred kilos a day. Slaughtering is done by hand. Teams of women dunk chickens in boiling water then pluck them --a tedious, hot process. With the twin crises of the financial meltdown and last summer's conflict with Russia , credit became hard to find. But Elguja's assembly line is ready. As soon as one last crucial piece of equipment arrives, chickens will be processed mechanically.
“The World Bank credit helped us expand our family business. And it came just in time so we wouldn't have to stop production,” said Elguja Nozadze, Director General, Nozadze-Gantiadi Individual Enterprise . His business got a US$ 500,000 TBC Bank loan targeted at increasing chicken meat production.
Tsira Khabelashili, a poultry worker, lives in the neighboring village. She is on the job caring for chicks six days a week. The only breadwinner in her family, she supports five people on her salary. She says mechanization is a good thing, not a threat. “We're not expecting any jobs to be cut. Just because there is new equipment doesn't mean there are fewer workers ,” says Ms. Khabelashili.
In fact, Mr. Nozadze says he'll be able to employ more people soon. Domestic demand for chicken is so high, he has no need to export, but his new equipment is certified for the European Union, so he'll be ready to export abroad when the time comes.