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FAO in Georgia

Programmes in Georgia

The COUNTRY PROGRAMMING FRAMEWORK FOR GEORGIA sets out four government priority areas to guide the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) partnership and support the Government of Georgia (GoG), bringing together innovative international best practices and global standards with national and regional expertise from 2016 to 2020.

The CPF was prepared following consultations and in agreement with Ministries and Governmental Agencies led by the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection (MENRP), Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees (MRA) and in consultations with development partners in agriculture, natural resources, rural development and gender issues, including UN agencies and key resource partners such as the European Union (EU), Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC). Other stakeholders, such as representatives of the non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) were also consulted.

The formulation of the CPF involved an interactive review of national policy priorities for food, agriculture, forestry, fishery and rural development in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the analysis of major ongoing and planned development programmes in Georgia. The CPF is aligned with the priorities of the United Nations Partnership for Sustainable Development (UNPSD) 2016-2020 which summarizes the Government of Georgia and United Nations (UN) partnership for the priority policy and programme areas for a five-year period.

Building on FAO’s past experience in the country, the CPF will directly support the implementation of SAD in the following four priority areas identified by the Government:

Priority Area 1: Institutional Development

In order to empower women and men farmers with proper support measures that will allow them to have better access to good agricultural practices, contemporary knowledge and modern technologies throughout their respective value chains, there is a need for the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia to improve its capacities to efficiently implement the Strategy for Agricultural Development and the associated Action Plan. It is a requirement to strengthen the organizational structure and human resources of the Ministry, its agencies and the regional Information Consultation Centres (ICCs) to develop the capacity and to achieve better productivity of their staff. Various trainings, workshops and “on-the-job” support have been identified for this purpose.

Under this Priority Area, FAO technical assistance will focus on SAD measures on supporting efficient market information collection, processing and dissemination among stakeholders, farm registry, coordination support among MoA, the donor community and international organizations and gender sensitive livelihood support programmes.

Priority Area 2: Regional and Sectoral development – Value Chain Development

The SAD defines rural development to be in conjunction with measures related to the agricultural development. Clearly, agricultural growth and productivity by itself cannot create secure livelihoods and sufficient employment and job opportunities to generate sustainable income for rural poor, especially women, to reduce poverty. Therefore, combined and integrated methods should be applied to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable households in rural areas: (1) agricultural livelihoods promotion targeting smallholders and family farms who are particularly exposed to natural risks, man-made and economic risks; (2) providing rural people with social protection, as they face particular difficulties in accessing resources, public services, functioning markets and local institutions; and (3) also promoting off-farm job opportunities. The Government intends to promote non-farm activity services, as for instance processing or agro-tourism. Successful initiatives at local levels will be piloted in selected regions and best practices will be replicated nationwide.

Priority Area 3: Food Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection

In 2014 the EU and Georgia signed an unprecedented Association Agreement (AA) with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). The Agreement significantly deepens political and economic ties with the EU in the framework of the Eastern Partnership. The DCFTA is expected to bring many economic benefits to Georgia by giving to its businesses access to the EU’s single market. In 2014 the EU started to work with the Georgian Government to achieve related reform and help to upgrade goods and industries to the necessary level. Food safety, veterinary and plant protection have an outstanding importance in the process of EU integration. Developing efficient and flexible systems in the related areas and their approximation and compliance with the EU regulations and standards is a top priority for the Government and in the SAD.

Therefore this Priority Area will focus on SAD measures related to the alignment of food safety measures with EU legislation, animal health protection, surveillance, monitoring and traceability system and approximation of phytosanitary legislation and standards to international and EU standards. This CPF Priority Area will improve efficiency and reliability of animal health protection, surveillance, monitoring, and traceability system to ensure quality and safe food production while plant and pest control services will also be strengthened.

Priority Area 4: Climate Change, Environment and Biodiversity

Protection and enhancement of environment and biodiversity is an important priority for the Government. As it is stipulated in the National Forest Concept for Georgia (NFCC), the country’s main policy document for forests management, forests are especially valuable resources in Georgia. They occupy about 40 percent of the territory and have an exceptional importance to conserve the unique biological diversity of the country and to ensure continuous delivery of vital direct and indirect benefits and resources to rural population which, in turn, contributes to poverty reduction and creates favourable environment for country’s sustainable development. The strategic goal of the Government is to establish a system of sustainable management and effective use of forest and wildlife resources, while protecting biodiversity of flora and fauna of forest ecosystems through the creation of landscape and ecosystem based approaches. Moreover, climate change risks to agricultural sector are becoming an important problem since the majority of rural population in Georgia directly or indirectly depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and food security. Increasing frequency of natural hazards, particularly landslides and mudflows, makes land degradation and overall adaptation to climate change in agriculture a priority on national level, with FAO support to be focused on developing relevant Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) measures. FAO may support the country in meeting its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).