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Like in many other transition countries, agriculture in Georgia is usually termed as subsistence farming. Lack of employment opportunities and insufficient household income make rural people dependent on state-funded pension’s schemes and agricultural production. Georgia, as an agrarian-oriented country, has a significant rural population. The majority of farmers have small family holdings, owning small parcels of farmland and working primarily for family supply. Agriculture has a low output, which makes the country dependent on external resources, particularly foreign imports of agricultural products. Low profits did not allow farmers the financial freedom to expand their farms and in turn, gain more profit. As a result, a farmer can only feed his family and cannot contribute to the country’s economy. In Georgia, 47.5% of the population lives in rural areas. The employment generation of agricultural sectors is reported as 55.3%.



At the same time, agriculture in Georgia is not very effective. Low productivity makes the country dependent on imports of agricultural products. One of the main reasons for the ineffectiveness of agriculture is the subsistence character of this sector. 99,8% of agricultural holdings in Georgia are family holdings who cultivateს one hectare of land and have two cows. Limited production does not allow them to compete with imported products and their profits are low as a result.

To solve this problem the EU (European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development - ENPARD) has offered Georgian farmers the opportunity to unite under a cooperative scheme and work towards a common goal – developing the economy.

As part of this EU support, in 2013 Georgia adopted the law on agricultural cooperatives. To date there are 988 registered cooperatives in Georgia which combine 6615 shareholders. Almost 20,000 hectares of land. In total the cooperatives annually harvest almost all varieties of agricultural products including 7,000 tons of citrus, 3, 600 tons of potato, 600 tons of honey, 6,700 tons of milk, etc. Furthermore, the cooperatives unite 1438 women. The idea of creating cooperatives is to support development of Georgia’s agricultural sector, strengthen farmers’ abilities and increase the income of farming households. Cooperatives are business-oriented, which is about gaining profits. Knowledge transfer is very useful. Hundreds of cooperatives that have already been created in Georgia now take part in different trainings and seminars to improve their knowledge, participate in ENPARD as grantees, etc. Business-oriented cooperatives are a key aspect of modern agriculture worldwide.

According to the census of 1st of October 2014, number of family farming in Georgia is 640.302. Number of enterprises engaged in agro-food sector was 3723, among which 760 were in primary production.



Family farming lex

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Civil society
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