April 14, 2024

Ancient Georgian Wheat “Tsiteli Doli” Revives and Creates Possibilities for Agrotourism Development

Ancient Georgian Wheat “Tsiteli Doli” Revives and Creates Possibilities for Agrotourism Development

Georgia, known for its heritage wheat landraces, is paving the way for more sustainable agricultural production in the face of ongoing climate changes. Today, over 80 hectares of rural land in Samtskhe-Javakheti is cultivated with the indigenous variety of wheat, “Tsiteli Doli.” This unique wheat variety is gaining recognition for its distinct flavor and rich cultural heritage, contributing to Georgia’s culinary distinction.

Convincing farmers to cultivate endemic wheat varieties is challenging, but pioneers like Giorgi Tivadze and Imeda Chaduneli are leading the way. Recently, they hosted an event attended by more than 30 interested farmers from the region. The training, led by Mr. Adoli Tkeshealshvili in cooperation with the Scientific-Research Center of Agriculture and the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (RECC), was supported by the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and the United Nations Environment Program.

The wheat field served as a vibrant setting for hands-on training, combining ample theoretical knowledge with practical skills in wheat cultivation. Participants were guided through the entire cultivation process, including treatment and soil fertility issues, to ensure high yields and fertile soil.

“I was amazed by its flavor, and it revived my childhood memories and traditions of bread-baking. Even the bread lasted more than a week,” shared small-holder farmer Zaza Ivanidze from the village of Ghreli in Akhaltsikhe Municipality.

“When someone was baking bread in our village, we could smell it everywhere,” recalled Aluda Jvaridze, a farmer from the village of Tchobareti in Aspindza Municipality.

Endemic wheat varieties hold cultural significance for the Georgian people, serving as a source of sustenance and intertwining deeply with local traditions, rituals, and festivities. The training sessions facilitated lively discussions on the cultivation of Meskhetian endemic wheat and its peculiarities, highlighting the importance of preserving traditional knowledge and practices.

The growing interest among farmers in preserving indigenous and endemic crops signifies a revival of heritage wheat. This resurgence not only preserves traditional farming practices and culinary traditions but also promotes a sense of pride and identity within local communities. Additionally, the revival of bread-baking culture from local wheat varieties is set to boost local sustainable tourism, enhancing the restoration of diverse and indigenous wheat varieties.