European neighbourhood programme for agriculture and rural development - ENPARD Georgia
With the ENPARD programme, the EU is promoting business‑oriented farmers' cooperatives as a model for small farmers to improve their production and access to markets.
Cooperation amongst small farmers is growing:
- More than 17 000 farmers (three in 10 were women) participated in the ENPARD agriculture cooperatives' development sessions.
- Almost 300 new agriculture cooperatives were established, grouping together more than 2 000 members (almost one in four were women); in 2014 they worked more than 11 hectares of land, producing 16 500 tons of agricultural output.
- ENPARD offers grants to cooperatives and other farmers' groups for capital investments like tractors, trucks, processing equipment and seedlings. By the end of 2014, 35 cooperatives had succeeded in the grant selection process; however, many more participated (700 groups, more than 6 000 farmers in total), and almost 200 received business training as part of the programme.
- Attitudes regarding cooperatives have clearly improved: in May 2014 an official survey confirmed that 67% of small farmers know and understand what a cooperative is, compared to only 32% before ENPARD.
Small farmers get better access to information and expertise:
- In 2014 the Ministry of Agriculture established 52 agriculture information and communication centres — one in each rural district of the country — staffed with 300 experts.
- The ENPARD partners (18 local and international NGOs, associations and research centres) developed 10 demonstration plots in eight districts.
- In Ajara, 20 000 farmers got regular consultations at the Ajaran Agro‑Service Centre. - The Georgian Farmers' Association provided advice to 1 000 members on a weekly basis through the agriculture information call centre.
Public institutions deliver more efficient agricultural services:
- ENPARD offered training to 400 staff from public institutions; 44 ministry staff and leaders of farmers' organisations participated in study visits to six EU Member States to familiarise themselves with European agriculture models and policies.
- At the policy level, the national agriculture development strategy was updated with a consultative process.
- A dedicated policy unit was created at the Ministry of Agriculture and the sector information basis, a key tool for better policymaking, was significantly expanded: an agricultural census (designed with ENPARD assistance) took place in 2014; a national market price information system was created; and more than 20 studies, policy analyses and research reports were produced and published.
- Collaboration with higher education and research institutions working on agriculture will continue in the future.