Hazelnut Processors and Exporters Association of Georgia (HEPA) was established on 31 December 2013 by the initiative and support of USAID programme - Economic Prosperity Initiative (EPI). The association brings together 38 companies in the hazelnut processing sector.
Hazelnut is one of the major agricultural products of the country and Georgia is in the top five world hazelnut exporters. A lot of people are employed in this business. Their business mainly includes procurement and sale of hazelnuts, 99% of processed product (nutshells, kernel of the seeds) is sold abroad.
The hazelnut sector is one of the major and promising sectors for agriculture and economics of the country. This factor stipulated the need for establishment of the association.
The mission of HEPA is to promote the hazelnut sector on the local, as well as on international level, to assist Association members in identifying and solving tax, financial and legal issues, offering special trainings to increase quality of nuts, competitiveness and support members in marketing and sales issues.
Besides said, HEPA informs and educates exporters regarding market information and closely works with governmental agencies, donors and financial institutions to ensure effective operation and implementation of its responsibilities.