FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Georgia reaches out to agriculture community through first Olympiad competition

A country-wide competition in Georgia that is reaching out to all age groups aims to generate new interest in and knowledge of agriculture. The Olympiad competition, part of an Austria-funded FAO project, will see contestants battle in one out in four categories – farmer, student, schoolchildren, practitioner – with the ten top performers (in online tests) from each category progressing to the final soon.

Ultimately, winners will be chosen from the four categories, and apart from the honour, there are some great prizes at stake – such as internship opportunities for students and schoolchildren, agricultural-supplies vouchers for farmers, and research grants for practitioners. The unique competition aims to promote the agricultural sector and its various branches, strengthen formal and informal agrarian education, and create a mechanism for evaluating professional knowledge.

“The first National Agricultural Olympiad has made a start to motivate people interested in agriculture and provide an evaluation mechanism for their knowledge, under the patronage of the Ministry,” said Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture. “I do believe that this initiative will become a popular event, and an annual competition in Georgia. The Olympiad is the best platform for people employed, or just interested in the agricultural sector, to demonstrate their knowledge.”

The target audiences of the Olympiad are broad – ranging from professionals with higher or vocational education in the agricultural sector, to farmers with practical field experience, to students from universities and vocational colleges with agricultural profiles, to students from public and private high schools aged from 14 to 18 years old.

As Mamuka Meskhi, Assistant FAO Representative in Georgia, noted, the competition will play an important role in agricultural education and in the popularisation of the agricultural sector in general.

“Participation in the contest is open to everyone interested in agriculture, including those who want to introduce themselves to employers, or discover opportunities for developing their agricultural businesses,” Meskhi said.

Before registration and online testing opened, a long preparation process took place, with thousands of tests developed by agricultural experts across various categories, namely: agronomy, veterinary, wine-making technology, agricultural mechanization, food technology, forestry, viticulture, fruit growing, vegetable growing, and organic farming. For schoolchildren, test topics included environmental protection, beekeeping, vegetable growing, fruit growing, and animal husbandry. In order to ensure a smooth running of the actual competition, trial tests and simulations were organized using focus groups.

The Olympiad is a novelty not only for Georgia, but for the entire Europe and Central Asia region. Organizers hope that it will grow in popularity with each passing year, both locally and at regional level.

Launched in May, the competition is a joint initiative of FAO, Georgia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, the Austrian Development Cooperation, and the Agriculture Development Association. It is supported by the USAID Agriculture Program, the European Union’s ‘Green Economy: Sustainable Mountain Tourism and Organic Agriculture’ project, the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), and the Environmental Information and Education Centre.

28 June 2021, Tbilisi, Georgia