The European Union (EU), Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia (MEPA) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) awarded 50 matching grants for a total amount of 2.2 million Georgian Lari to support food production and security in Georgia amid the Covid-19 crisis. The grants were awarded within the first cycle of applications under the EU’s ENPARD III programme.
These investments mainly focus on the value chains of vegetables, cereals, potatoes, beef and dairy, but there are investments also in other value chains such as honey or wine production. These grants will allow farmers, cooperatives and SMEs to invest in equipment and installations, such as tractors, harvesters or greenhouses, with a contribution from the EU’s ENPARD Programme that will cover from 40% to 60% of the costs of the investments. The total value of the investments approved exceed 5 million Georgian Lari.
“In these challenging times, the EU remains one of the most dedicated partners to Georgia. Together with FAO, we are actively working to help Georgian farmers and producers to develop their farming activities. This is a particularly important initiative in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic as the country needs to increase its food security and resilience capacities”, said Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.
“Today, the whole world, and Georgia as well, is facing severe economic challenges caused by the spread of Covid-19. We are actively working to ensure that Georgia’s population does not have problems with food security. The Ministry, with the support of international partners and donor organizations, has made the necessary changes to the program to help farmers implement projects that will allow them to conduct agricultural activities and increase primary production”, stated Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.
Vachagan, a 31-year-old farmer with 5 hectares of land in Akhalkalaki is one of the first beneficiaries. He received a multi-functional tractor to develop his potato production. This equipment will also benefit other farmers in the community as he will be providing services to his neighbors as well.
The next cycles of applications will allow for more SMEs, cooperatives and farmers to present their investment proposals to FAO and EU. Information about the application cycles, application submission, procedures and promoted investments, is available at the website: WWW.FAOGRANTS.GE
As a coordinator of FAO-EU projects, Javier Sanz Alvarez declared that regardless of hard emergency times, FAO and EU will keep on supporting farmers, producers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Georgia.
“More than ever, we need to help our farmers, and now, spring time, is the critical period to get prepared, cultivate and together prevent any food shortage in the country. We don’t stop, we support you”, Sanz Alvarez said.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second and third phases of ENPARD focus on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge