BUSINESS
Young farmers and the EU reviving Georgian agriculture
21 September, 2017
Georgia’s agricultural sector has traditionally been a strength of the economy and taken advantage of the favorable climate and rich soils. However, following the collapse of the Soviet Union the sector has struggled to reach its full potential. Now, with some assistance from the European Union, young Georgian farmers are leading a revival and developing not only high quality produce but also reaching new markets. Yet, in spite
of the many hardships and obstacles, today this field is in the process of restoration and development with the assistance of EU - the key donor in this area.

How does European Union assist Georgia to rehabilitating and flourishing its agriculture


The European Union provides support to rural development and agriculture in Georgia through ENPARD, the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development. Along with other missions one of the primary aims of the programme  is to improve employment and living conditions of rural populations by strengthening farmers’ cooperation skills and access to resources.

In order to discover how the local farmers have benefited from the program Georgian Journal talked with several Georgian entrepreneurs, who have already succeeded through the support provided by EU.


Gogita Makaridze, the head of cooperative Terjola Wine - a motivated young winemaker from Imereti region, whose wine is internationally recognized and sold both at local and global markets.

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Photo credit: © Photo: WWW.ENPARD.GE

“Winemaking is our family business that has been transmitted from generation to generation. In past years it was the main source of our income, since my father used to export wine to Soviet republics, but after collapse of the Soviet Union things have changed that affected the demand and consequently the production declined. Now I am fortunate enough to continue my family’s business. After receiving EU assistance, in particular through ENPARD program, the locals, who were involved in small scale wine businesses, formed a cooperative Terjola wine that consists of 10 members. Our cooperative was granted modern equipment, worth 35000 Euros, for producing best quality wine, and as a result the production has increased significantly. Our wine is produced in accordance with EU standards, so nowadays we export our wine to the USA, Japan, Australia, and Denmark. On average, besides Georgia, we sell around 500 bottles in each of these countries. In addition, our wine has earned many local as well as international awards. We are extremely thankful for such support and helpful trainings that helped us advance ourselves in winemaking. This kind of support is vital for the locals and their well-being, so I wish many similar long-lasting programs to be carried out in the future. “
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Natalia Partskhaladze, the enthusiastic CEO of cooperative Kona Tea that produces unique blends of Georgian tea.

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“Our brand Kona has recently hit the market and it is in the phase of establishing itself as a premium quality nonindustrial brand. Our motto is PaucaSed Bona that translates from Latin as “quality over quantity.” Originally we started as an experimental farm in the village of Lavriskhevi. We purchased materials and constructed a small greenhouse by ourselves. Later thanks to ENPARD, we installed drip irrigation system and established a small enterprise. In 2014 we applied for the program and as a result received grant (7000 Euros). In spring 2016 we already had a garden and a small enterprise where our tea is dried and packed. In addition,within the frames of program we were assisted with building the brand and besides funding we received many consultations and underwent trainings that helped us to deepen our knowledge. “
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Mindia Kavtaradze, young enthusiastic beekeeper from Vani and a head of honey cooperative Tapli Sachino.

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Photo credit: © Photo: WWW.ENPARD.GE

“I discovered about European Union’s  program through informational meetings that were held in many regions and ENPARD leaflets that were distributed among the inhabitants of villages. We wrote project and won the grant, so thanks to EU support we achieved success. Before we got funding, 5-6 tons of honey was produced by the cooperative and afterwards the amount has increased greatly. Also, in the aftermath of participating in the program, we not only expanded bee families, but improved the quality of honey as well. In total we received 90 000 Euros and through this sum we purchased new equipment. I managed to mobilize 5 cooperatives in Vani district and united them in the second level cooperative Tapli Sachino that now produces 20 tons of honey. Our aim is to expand the cooperative and produce more honey so that we could export it to the European market.In the framework of the Association Agreement Georgia has a quota if exporting up to 1,500 tons of honey to the European Union market.This is quite a big amount but in order to make it a reality honey should meet a common standard on the market. That is why the cooperation among beekeepers is important to produce the same quality honey in line with the standard. We produce 100% natural honey that is proved by many laboratory examinations. Moreover, we are planning to plant chestnut trees throughout many regions to help our Georgian bees survive and multiply.”

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"The total budget for ENPARD in Georgia for 2013-2019 (Phase I and Phase II) is €102 million. ENPARD I, the first phase, is a €52 million programme that started in 2013. From the overall amount, general budget support to the government is €24.5 million, while project component allocated to international non-governmental organisations working with the communities on the ground is comprised of €27.5 million”, - Said Tamar Khuntsaria, Team Leader, ENPARD Communication Unit.

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Photo credit: © Photo: WWW.ENPARD.GE

Author: Lika Chigladze



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