FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Georgian smoked ham and other rural enterprises benefit from FAO project

Sixty Georgian farmers now own modern facilities for smoked ham and pig production, along with up-to-date agricultural tools and equipment. Wine makers, mushroom producers, beekeepers and woodworkers who specialize in making agricultural tools are also among the beneficiaries of an FAO rural development project, financed by the Government of Austria.

The pilot project, launched three years ago, was carried out in Georgia’s mountainous Racha-Lechkhumi region. It contributed to the country’s rural development programme – a priority of the Ministry of Agriculture.

FAO experts analyzed social and economic factors in the region and consulted with a Local Initiative Group made up of local government officials and farmers. The decision was taken to support the development of swine husbandry, smoked ham production, and other agricultural activities in Racha-Lechkhumi.

The project also aimed to deal with intensive migration from the mountainous Racha-Lechkhumi region to Georgia’s large cities. Special attention was paid to the region’s young people, who are at higher risk of leaving their home villages. Twenty percent of project beneficiaries were agriculturalists under 40 years of age.

A video on the young farmer beneficiaries was produced by FAO and screened at a recent event organized to hand over the swin farms and smoked ham production facilities.

First Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Georgia Nodar Kereselidze, FAO Assistant Representative in Georgia Mamuka Meskhi, and Head of Office for the Austrian Development Agency Gerhard Schaumberger all attended.

The pilot project implemented in Racha-Lechkhumi region falls within a larger FAO project, “Capacity Development of Agriculture of Georgia.” It aims to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector by supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and strengthening small farmers and small farmers’ organizations. Experience with supporting farmers in Racha-Lechkhumi is also expected to help with planning rural development measures in other regions of Georgia.

20 November 2017, Tbilisi, Georgia