Global Farmer Field School Platform

Farmer field schools approach successfully supporting Georgian small-scale producers to link with market demands


Georgia is a post-soviet country from South Caucasus. In 2018, FAO started to support the agricultural sector in Georgia under the EU-funded European Neighborhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). In 2014, The European Union signed an Association Agreement for Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Georgia providing big opportunities for local agricultural development. Georgian farmers, however, still lack the appropriate extension support to make the most of this chances. Without adequate assistance, adapted to the needs of the farming communities, small farmers might not have the capacity to fully use this strengthening of the EU-Georgian relations.

The establishment of Farmer Field Schools is a possible answer to provide smallholder farmers with skills to analyze their production system in regards of their business environment. It is essential to push Georgian small-scale agriculture to understand market needs.

There are currently four Farmer Field Schools in Georgia.

FAO team would like to tell you the story of Dato Kapanadze, one of the FFS Facilitators whose farm is located in Lagodekhi region of Eastern Georgia. 

The Story of Dato’s Farmer Field School


FAO team, supporting Farmers Fields Schools in Georgia conducted a market analysis to spot potential domestic market needs in 2019.  The analysis showed an existing unsatisfied demand of Carrefour supermarkets chain for locally produced sweet corn.

Dato, as consulted by FAO, decided to try sweet corn production in Lagodekhi, in July 2019. The organization assisted him to plant the crop on a 0.3 hectare plot. ​

FAO team assisted Dato to introduce good agricultural practices to sweet corn production, including the utilization of high quality seeds for the seedlings, use of sterilized soil and efficient water management. Fertilizer application at a nursery level had also been demonstrated to the FFS community.

Dato’s Farmer Field School experimented with some innovative methods such as climate-smart agricultural practices, use of raised beds, drip irrigation system, establishment of weekly fertilization programme and Integrated Pest Management.


What were Dato’s challenges?

One of the most common corn consumption traditions in Georgia is making corn flour. The flour can be used to make bread called mchadi and traditional cornmeal porridge - ghomi; Corn is also widely used as poultry and livestock forage.

Smallholders tend not to use the highest productivity of the corn types. Average production of this crop is 2.5 tons per hectare.

In summer 2019, Dato and his wife Valentina Kapanadze, arranged a sweet corn demo plot with the assistance of FAO agronomists and experts. Sweet corn production was an experiment by the family as they had never grown this crop before. The family trusted FAO team and followed the business opportunity of selling the yield to Carrefour.

As a result of the hard work in the field and quality yield obtained from the demo plot, FAO created market linkage between the smallholder farmer and Carrefour, which started to purchase the premium quality sweet corn from Kapanadze family.

 Dato’s sweet corn hit Carrefour stands in October 2019. This first delivery was a huge success.

Providing the sweet corn, Dato helped Carrefour to promote its new positioning strategy – selling Made in Georgia goods.  The success left Carrefour wanting more product. Responding to the demand, Dato and FAO team decided to work together to grow and provide constant supply of locally produced sweet corn for the supermarket chain.

Dato, with FAO support, worked out a schedule for the second batch production in the beginning of 2020.

Carrefour representative visited Dato’s plot on May 6, accompanied by with FFS beneficiaries. Respecting COVID-19 related social distancing, they have discussed the supply of sweetcorn and future collaboration.


Carrefour expects first 2020 delivery in June.

This story has been prepared for you by Meri Agronomy and Extension Specialist and Allan International Agronomist & Capacity Building Specialist who are supporting Farmer field schools in Georgia.


For more information please contact: [email protected]