Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (REU)
 

New agriculture strategy taking shape in Georgia

Photo: ©FAO/Jon SpaullA new strategy for developing Georgia’s agriculture was presented recently in Tbilisi, for review and discussion by all segments of society.

Government and nongovernmental agencies, donors, academia, farmers and media attended the presentation, where Georgia’s Ministry of Agriculture presented a new strategy for agriculture for the coming six years. The strategy was developed with assistance from FAO, under a capacity-development project with financing from the European Union’s European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) and from FAO.

The strategy document introduces a long-term vision for the sector development, outlining a broad policy framework and a more detailed action plan.

Agriculture in Georgia has lagged behind other economic sectors, said Ilia Kvitaishvili, Deputy Minister of Agriculture. “Low productivity, an underdeveloped land market, limited access to technologies and finance, high rural poverty and other factors created the background where we had to operate.

“Significant progress has been achieved since 2012,” he added, and “that enabled us to develop and implement more proactive measures for future development.”

Recent years have seen a wider assortment of goods being exported, increased capital investment, improved infrastructure, significant progress towards farmer cooperation, increased involvement of the banking sector, and reforms in the areas of food safety, laboratory capacities, production standards, technology and the promotion of Georgian products.

The strategy addresses the need to increase the sector’s competitiveness, achieve sustainable increases in production, ensure food safety and food security, and make inroads against poverty through the sustainable development of rural areas.

It reflects the current state of support measures for competitiveness, emphasizes environmentally friendly actions, and targets areas of the country with less favourable conditions for agriculture.

“We are glad to see that the strategy is based on data, figures and models that have already been tested, and that there are tangible results achieved,” said Juan Jose Echanove, Attaché of Agriculture, Food Safety and Rural Development for the European Union Delegation to Georgia. “We are indeed happy that this strategy was widely consulted with various stakeholders . . . and I can assure that aspects like gender, social aspects have been considered.”

“Preparation of a strategy like this does not happen overnight, it is a process,” said Raimund Jehle, Alternate FAO Representative for Georgia. “FAO very much welcomes the fact that this document – which the previous government started to work on – has been taken forward by the present government.  This is a remarkable sign of stability in Georgia’s governance.”

FAO is assisting Georgia in this process with two other major projects, funded by the European Union and the Austrian Development Agency. The focus is on building the capacities of the Ministry of Agriculture for efficient policy formulation and implementation, and in the area of donor and stakeholder coordination.

4 August, Tbilisi, Georgia