Supplying city residents with the best agricultural produce the country has to offer
This is a story of three hard-working women from Georgia whose lives have intersected thanks to Soplidan.ge – an e-commerce platform connecting more than 400 farmers around the country and supplying city residents with fresh Georgian produce.
Together with the European Union (EU), the EBRD has helped the company develop an online shopping application to boost sales.
Eto, proud owner of a duck farm
Interviewing Eto Kapanadze proves a serious challenge. It is never quiet at her farm, courtesy of a couple of dogs, various cats, a rabbit, and more than 60 ducks and ducklings. Nevertheless, it is a fun place to be.
“It all began three years ago. I live in the countryside and was looking for something to do in our village. Then I saw a video about ducklings and thought to myself: why not? Thus, the story of our happy farm began,” she says.
Eto sells duck eggs on the e-platform, firmly believing in the nutritional benefits of her product:
“Duck eggs are healthier than chicken ones,” she says. “They contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals, with lots of benefits for people. They are also used in skin- and haircare.”
“It is paramount for Georgian farmers to get involved in e-commerce. I am eternally grateful to Soplidan.ge for its help; many people have learned about us and our product,” says Eto, who has grand plans for the future. “I see my farm being sunnier, greener, bigger, and even more cheerful, growing beyond my family and employing locals.”
Georgian firms harness power of digital with help from EBRD and EU
Eka, guardian of a mountain delicacy
“When you prepare it with love, the end product is definitely delicious and of high quality,” says Eka Dojurishvili, producer of Dambalkhacho, a cheese delicacy traditional to the mountainous regions of Georgia.
“Dambalkhacho is the cherry on top at any feast we have here. Unfortunately, with the passing of the older generation, we were starting to forget this delight of Georgian cuisine.”
But Eka is on a mission to promote this dry, mouldy cheese, produced from buttermilk cottage cheese, which takes a few months to prepare.
“Our Dambalkhacho bears the name of my grandma, Martha. We dedicated the company to her memory. We continue her tradition, she taught us how to make it. I believe that even a slight decrease in quality would be disrespectful to her memory.”
While continuing the tradition, Eka believes e-commerce is here to help preserve her heritage and bring her artisanal product and its admirers closer together.
Natia, Soplidan.ge founder
“I often say that soplidan.ge is a bridge between the rural and the urban. Our platform is for both farmers and city residents. It links the city to the village and creates opportunities for both,” says Natia Ninikelashvili, formerly a banker, now Soplidan.ge founder.
“As a banker, I was working on an e-commerce project and receiving a lot of requests from my friends to connect them with farmers from my native village to purchase locally grown produce.”
The platform started off slowly, but six years later, Soplidan.ge connects more than 400 farmers and 10,000 registered customers, sells myriad products and even exports to the United States of America and 10 countries across Europe.
“Engaging agriculture and agriproducts into e-commerce is a big opportunity for farmers. They can reach the biggest market at minimal, optimised cost. And, for customers, purchasing fresh, locally produced goods is just one click away,” says Natia.
Natia and her team work closely with farmers and their cooperation goes beyond sales: they help with marketing, standards and with boosting competitiveness.
Soplidan.ge is just one of the many companies the EBRD and the EU are helping to harness the power of digital sales. Since the launch of their digitalisation programme in 2020, dozens of companies have received support to drive digitalisation efforts and reap their benefits.