FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

FAO, EU, and Georgia’s ministry launch $1 million grant for farmers to fight COVID-19 crisis

Bringing transformative agriculture solutions and building farmer resilience to those affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the European Union EU, FAO, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture have teamed up to develop an accelerated funding mechanism for Georgian farmers. Their efforts have unlocked USD 1 million in rapid funding for smallholder farmers experiencing difficulties during the pandemic.

This exceptional support will focus on co-funding modern drip irrigation kits that can be installed immediately. The new programme is part of the EU’s broader grant initiative supporting Georgian farmers with matching production grants, implemented under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural Development (ENPARD).

“Food security is crucial in these uncertain times. The grants launched today will help farmers in 22 municipalities to quickly establish irrigation systems necessary to increase their production, leading to increased local food supply in Georgia and increased incomes in the regions”, said Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.

For a period of two months, the emergency response grant competition will be open to all farmers in 22 municipalities in Georgia who want to grow vegetables, roots, tubers, and berries under drip irrigation. The programme will provide 75 percent of the total investment, including installation costs for drip irrigation solutions. The grant amount for each beneficiary is limited up to USD 5 000. The registration and application process, fully adapted to the state of national emergency, will be done online with comprehensive distance consultations for applicants.

“We are still on time to support Georgian farmers during this season; the installation of irrigation solutions will allow them to increase their production of vegetables and other crops, and to ensure that Georgians will better cope with any negative impact that comes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Javier Sanz Alvarez, coordinator of FAO-EU projects in Georgia.

Emergency response grants will be allocated on a “first -come, first -serve” basis. Successful beneficiaries will also receive technical assistance provided by the Ministry and FAO to help farmers utilize irrigation systems in the most efficient way.

This new funding opportunity for smallholder farmers, implemented under ENPARD, is framed in the regular matching grant component, implemented by FAO since 2019, that provides opportunities of co-funding capital agricultural investments. With a total budget of USD 6 million, the project has already approved investments in agricultural equipment and installations such as tractors, harvesters, or greenhouses, for a total value that exceeds USD 700 000.

The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia.

“Georgian Government is actively collaborating with the EU and partner organizations to support continuous progress of rural and agricultural development in the country. Today, the whole world, including Georgia, is facing economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We work hard to prevent the food crisis in the country. Our ministry, with the support from the partners and donors managed to reflect required changes in the ongoing programmes. We will support Georgian farmers to implement the projects which will ensure uninterrupted agricultural activities and increased food production in the country,“ said Khatia Tsilosani, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.

15 May 2020, Tbilisi, Georgia