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Georgia: Cooperation for Rural Prosperity in Georgia – GEO930

Project Description

This project aims to increase the income and living standard of the Georgian rural population by reinvigorating agricultural productivity. This will be achieved through the development of innovative and financially sustainable models of cooperatives so that farmers are better able to reap profits from their agricultural activities. It will address key barriers in Georgia’s agricultural sector. As the main economic activity of half the population, farming accounts for only 9% of GDP. Many farmers produce mostly or exclusively for subsistence. Despite favourable natural resources in most parts of Georgia, productivity is low as reflected in the fact that the value of agricultural imports triples that of exports.
Most farmers are smallholders working on less than a hectare, often divided into separate micro-plots. Fragmentation and resulting tiny outputs reduce access of these farmers to both input and output markets and limits options, since large-scale processors and marketers are not interested. With limited ability to achieve economies of scale, farmers have little incentive to raise production or increase quality. Most farmers also lack improved farming methods to do so. Other barriers are limited access to services and finance, weak infrastructure, especially for drainage in Guria and Samegrelo, unfavourable policies fostering import and lack of entrepreneurship. Many farmers also fear losing state anti-poverty subsidies (“social assistance”) if they produce more.
Rural poverty and low food-production will be addressed through identifying, testing and validating new models of cooperative groups that have the capacity to generate additional revenue for their members and are linked to wider networks of service providers. The project provides basic support for business planning to 60 cooperatives and intensified support, including grants, to 43 farmer groups with an estimated 860 members. Ultimately, 30 cooperatives with an estimated 600 members will be successful and generate stable and increased income to their members as a result of improved cooperation. Another target group is the Georgian Farmers Association (GFA), a 2nd level entity to represent and support farmer groups, whose capacities to represent and advocate for an enabling policy framework for smallholder farmers will be enhanced. By the end of the project, at least 6,000 members of GFA will benefit from the increased capacity and efficacy of this umbrella organization. 600 farm households (ca.2,400 people) will benefit from higher, more stable incomes and better support systems if this project is implemented. They are the families of farmers of the 30 groups expected to be successful in the long term.

Overall Objective

Sustained increase of food production and rural poverty reduction in Georgia.

Specific Objective

Business-oriented smallholder farmer groups within a sustainable support network cooperate and compete well in markets.

Expected Results

ER1: Business-oriented smallholder farmer groups (cooperatives or equivalent) are operational and sustainable
ER2: Interests and rights of smallholder farmers are represented and protected by the Georgian Farmers Association (GFA)
ER3: Institutional framework for smallholder farmer groups improved
ER4: Smallholder farmer groups are linked to improved sources of capital, market information, business opportunities, and farming/processing methods

Main Activities

Inform farmers in target municipalities on legal factors, benefits and risks of cooperation, and models of success, coordinating with local authorities and extension agents.
Develop and implement improved GFA governance and organizational structure.
Hold periodic workshops with ENPARD partners to harmonize ENPARD approaches to cooperative development.
Establish Online Marketplace to promote outside investor links to farmers’ business ideas.

Beneficiaries

Farmer Groups are the beneficiaries of training, technical assistance, and grants.
GFA is the beneficiary of capacity building; it will develop governance and consultation measures, membership, and a sustainable revenue model, member services, and advocacy role
292,000 rural residents of the 7 target districts in Guria and Samegrelo are the final beneficiaries.

Location

Republic of Georgia: 7 municipalities of Zugdidi, Khobi, Abasha and Senaki in Samegrelo, and Ozurgeti, Lanchkhuti and Chokhatauri in Guria

Duration

01.01.2014 – 31.12.2017

Downloads

Interim Report 1

Interim Report 2

Donors

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