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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article19 December 2017Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

EU and Government of Georgia review four years of EU support to agriculture

Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Agriculture Levan Davitashvili, and Ambassador of the European Union Janos Herman summarised the results of the first phase of the EU’s European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and...

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Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Agriculture Levan Davitashvili, and Ambassador of the European Union Janos Herman summarised the results of the first phase of the EU’s European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgia which ran from 2014 to 2017 during the conference "Improving Rural Lives" held in Tbilisi.

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As a result of EU support, the Government has developed three modern strategies to address Agriculture, Rural Development, and Agricultural Extension. In addition, EU has supported in rolling-out key services such as a National Online Price Tracking System for agricultural produce allowing farmers to get reliable price information for selling their products; Monitoring and Evaluation System for better planning new programmes and budgeting; Quality Schemes for protected geographic indications, designations of origin and traditional specialty guaranteed.

Moreover, EU has helped the Government to establish 59 Information and Consultation Centres across the country, which provide free advice and training to farmers on farming. To date, over 250,000 farmers have benefitted from the services of these centres. The EU’s assistance has also been instrumental in the strengthening of cooperation among small farmers in Georgia. Today around 1,500 cooperatives are registered in Georgia, uniting up to 15,000 farmers. Of these, more than 280 cooperatives received direct EU funding and technical assistance. With EU financing and grant schemes, ENPARD implementing partners have assisted the cooperatives by purchasing assets, providing intensive technical support via onsite trainings and expertise, as well as helped in market linkages for purchasing inputs and selling outputs. Around 8000 farmers across Georgia have been trained and improved their skills in farming and business management. Additionally, over 1000 cooperatives have received grants through state aid programmes, supported by the EU.

Additionally, the EU has introduced European model of rural development in order to help diversify rural economies in a sustainable manner. To address this, the EU introduced a bottom-up approach based on EU best practices that places local citizens, NGOs and municipalities at the centre of developing solutions for their regions. Following this model, the EU has provided direct support to pilot rural development actions in three areas - Lagodekhi, Borjomi and Kazbegi. Over 120 rural development initiatives were launched, boosting production and services in the areas of agriculture, tourism, social and rural infrastructure and environment. These initiatives have already provided better employment to over 700 rural households.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards European Union for the significant support it provides to our country. In particular, I would like underline EU’s assistance to Georgia in the field of agriculture and rural development, which we take as our partners’ faith in us, and at the same time, as endorsement of the reforms we undertake. €77.5 million extended by EU within ENPARD III, and the overall ENPARD assistance worth of €180 million, is tremendously important for our country, considering that the revitalization of rural areas and the development of agriculture are among our top priorities.”

The EU also used the event to announce a further 230 million €77.5 million for a third phase of ENPARD to run from 2018-2021. Speaking at the conference, Janos Herman, Ambassador of the European Union, said, "ENPARD is the EU's flagship development programme in Georgia responding to our commitment to improve lives in rural areas. I am proud to say that over the four years of this programme, working closely with the Government and numerous partners, we

have generated new production models and stimulated modern services. According to our estimate, around one third of Georgians in rural areas have already benefitted by some means from ENPARD. Together with the Government, we launch now the new, third phase of the programme, starting on the ground in 2018. Doing so, we build on what we have achieved, putting even more emphasis on sustainable development and job creation."

The next phase of EU support, to be implemented in the period of 2018-2021 will be worth €77.5 million. It will focus on enhancing competitiveness of agriculture by supporting the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia in the implementation of agricultural policy; providing farmers with improved access to finance and training and education on agribusiness; developing value chains for farmers’ commodities; and improving food safety, quality standards and procedures for inspection and control. In addition, the third phase will consider improving employment and living conditions in rural areas by supporting the Government of Georgia and the Government of Ajara AR in the implementation of rural development policy; implementing programmes in support of diversification of economic activity in rural areas and improving employment and services in different regions of Georgia, including Ajara and Abkhazia; and protection and enhancement of natural and cultural heritage. Moreover, within the third phase EU will assist Georgia in improving environment, sustainable management of natural resources and climate action by: support to the implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices; protection, climate resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems; and support to the sustainable management of natural resources, including forests and protected areas.

ENPARD is implemented in partnership with implementing partners, which include the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Evoluxer, Oxfam, People in Need, CARE, Mercy Corps, the University of Limerick and the Georgian Insitute of Public Affairs (GIPA).

For more information, visit: www.enpard.ge

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