©2018 Mountain and Rural Development Initiatives| Caucasus Region

February, 2017

Abstract

As in many transition countries, also in Georgia rural-urban migration as well as migration from the agricultural sector takes place. This also applies to the Kazbegi district, a mountainous region in the Greater Caucasus of Georgia. The main activity in the district is subsistence farming, while only a few agricultural producers are commercially active. As the region offers beautiful nature, during the lastdecade tourism has been on the rise, while a dwindling interest in the agricultural sector can beobserved. However, the growth in tourism also provides opportunities for small-scale agricultural pro-ducers to increase their income by marketing their surplus production to the local tourism sector andthereby improving their livelihoods. In turn, an increase in local agri-food products offered might have a positive effect on the tourism sector. Thus, establishing linkages of agricultural food production and ruraltourism might contribute to the economic development of the district and even counteract migration tothe capital and from the agricultural sector. Through a qualitative study, we aim at identifying local agri-food products suitable for being marketed to the tourism sector and efficient marketing options. In orderto do so, we analyze local agri-food chains. Exploratory interviews, focus group discussions and expertinterviews provide data for a qualitative content analysis. First results show that food products whichrequire little technological equipment for processing and do not underlie strict food safety standards, likefor example honey, seem to be adequate to tap marketing potentials with regard to rural tourism.