EU Awards Grants to four Organizations
13 March, 2014
EU Awards Grants to four Organizations
On 11 March, the European Union awarded four grants in support of small farmers in Georgia within the ENPARD program. The event took place in the village of Tsinamdzghvriantkari (near Saguramo) with the participation of local stakeholders. The media also got a chance to have a closer look at the successful farmers’ cooperative run by IDP women in Tsinamdzghvriantkari.
The grants totaling EUR 15 million were awarded to four-member consortia: Oxfam Great Britain, Care Austria, People in Need and Mercy
Corps Scotland which bring together some 16 national and international organizations, including agriculture associations and academic institutions. The projects will assist in the establishment of over 160 cooperatives trough technical assistance, capacity building, and direct investments, covering 45 districts and targeting all regions of Georgia.
The EU-funded cooperatives are business oriented voluntary-based organizations of small farmers, created in order to gain economies of scale, enhance their efficiency and improve their linkages to the markets. The cooperatives will be engaged in joint activities such as common storages, transport, processing, marketing and sale of agriculture products.
Boris Iarochevitch, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia spoke with the journalists after the signing ceremony: “ENPARD is a project of EUR 40 million that we signed with the government two years ago. The idea is to support the development of agriculture in Georgia because now it is one of the main economic projects.”
Davit Galegashvili, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, was the next respondent: “Since the adoption of the law on cooperation and the formation of the appropriate agency, the process is turning into its active phase. Within the framework of four international organizations, under the aegis of the ENPARD project, hundreds of cooperatives will be funded. The cooperative movement is one of the new directions of our Ministry. We believe that it will employ a lot of Georgians and produce a big quantity of high quality production.“
The Georgian Farmers’ Association is the mediator between the government and the farmers. Nino Zambakhidze, Chairwoman of Georgian Farmers’ Association, told Georgian Journal: “Today is the most important day because this will be the basis to create these cooperatives. We, ourselves, are bringing together 750 farmers who are ready to be engaged in the cooperatives. We are going to start working with the EU in order to make the cooperatives more sustainable.” She explained that cooperatives have nothing to do with Kolkhoz, and it implies a number of benefits for farmers at the initial stage of their activities.
“We are functioning under the NGO PIN which is working under the patronage of the Czech Embassy. We focus on berries and vegetables. Together with dried wild growing blueberry, dried Laurel leaf, dried tomatoes, dried fruits and dried dill, we have another very different product – dried fruit in chocolate which is called chirkoladi (mix of chiri – dried fruit and shokoladi – Georgian word for chocolate). We aim to strengthen the local farmers’ families by cooperating with them,” Giorgi Artsividze, representative of Bio 21 from the Imereti region noted.
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