FAO in Georgia

25-year-old farmer with aspiring development plans


Ana Jgerenaia, 25, is a farmer from the village Gurdzemi, Martvili Municipality of Georgia. Together with her three siblings and young parents, she is an irreplaceable contributor to the family farming activities since her childhood. Taking care of the seven dairy cows and five goats, she undertakes work at almost every stage of dairy production. At the same time, she is studying to obtain Master’s degree in biology.

Ana always wanted to change things for the better. She believes that dedication to the job and hard work leads to development and achievements not only for the household but also beyond, for the community. She realized that along with the physical involvement in the dairy production her family also needed her to bring and introduce modern agricultural approaches and investment opportunities to improve family income.

Being an active participaant of the project - Fostering economic empowerment of women farmers by supporting homemade dairy production through the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) approach, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) - Ana wants to improve her skills in dairy production and acquire knowledge of best hygiene practices and innovative technologies to support her family production. The training sessions implemented by FAO provide also information about the market needs, Georgian legislation for Food Safety Standards, and its implication at farm production level. 

 “I would like to address the youth living in rural areas, I know that rural life is not an easy life, especially for the young people. The existing challenges and lack of economic opportunities are the main reason why the young generation leave rural areas. Youth see more opportunities abroad, but I believe that by working hard you can achieve a lot in your own mother land “

Ana is one of the most active members of the Dairy Farmer Field School (FFS) created with the support of FAO. She and her family already started the production of Italian-style aged cheese with the new techniques introduced during the trainings. Ana also received from the project a cheese vat and other small equipment needed to improve her production and replicate the best practices demonstrated at the trainings. Under the same project, UN Women provides Ana and other women farmers with trainings in business and entrepreneurship skills. This knowledge will enable them to improve and upscale their own production.

With the knowledge already gained during the project, in particular new technologies of aged cheese, Ana is already looking for opportunities to invest in a cheese aging room and demonstration space for tourists.  Slowly, she is becoming a real entrepreneur.

“The biggest benefit of aged cheese production is that traditional cheeses are perishable and the prices are seasonal, volatile, and in the case of aged cheese, it can be stored longer, and prices rise over time. I hope that I will be able to set prices for my own product now, as until now I was mostly dependent on the price decided by resellers, I was obliged to sell at the price I was told to," said the farmer.


“Rural women are key in dairy production in Georgia, Under this project, SDC, FAO and UN Women join forces so that women can produce more and better, and ensure the food safety of their dairy products, while we also develop their business skills so they become more profitable. Ana is a good example of how you can significantly improve your household economy with a little bit of technical help” said Javier Sanz Alvarez, FAO Programme Coordinator.

“The Swiss Cooperation is supporting this project with the aim to increase incomes of women and with this, alleviate poverty in rural communities. We are delighted to see the impact of this project in improving lives of women and men in remote areas and we hope that Ana’s success will be a source of inspiration for other beneficiaries,” said Danielle Meuwly, Regional Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus.

“Fostering economic empowerment of women farmers by supporting homemade dairy production through the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) approach” is a project implemented UN agencies - FAO and UN Women - funded by SDC. The project started in October 2020 and will be operational until 30th September 2024.