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On 18th of October, Georgian Farmers’ Association together with its partner organizations: International School of Economics (ISET), Civil Development Agency (CiDA), Export Development Association (EDA), and Association Atinati presented a new project: Food and Agriculture SME Support Initiative (FASSI).
The European Union contributes over 1.3 million GEL (over 450.000 EUR) to the project aiming to strengthen Business Support Organizations in the food and agriculture sector. This will enable their members, small and medium enterprises, to comply with the regulations of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement so that they can improve their local and international business opportunities.
"The European Union and Georgia have removed all import duties on Georgian agricultural products within the Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreement. Agricultural activity in Georgia is very important and involves a substantial part of society, thus new export possibilities will be highly beneficial for the sector. This project is a very important contribution towards assisting Georgian entrepreneurs access the European market, and tap into the new export and income possibilities the DCFTA offers."
Carlo Natale, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to Georgia
"At the moment, the following issues are very important and should be resolved for local enterpreneurs to benefit from the DCFTA: general knowledge about the EU market, EU requirements for projects, strategic business planning and so on.
According to the survey results, SMEs have a clear need in consultations and training. Therefore, capacity-building measures for BSOs will be an effective mechanism to support SMEs. This will allow them to meet the food safety regulations envisaged by the DCFTA and overcome any obstacles when accessing the EU market."
- Nino Zambakhidze, Chairwoman of Georgian Farmers' Association
The project's main objective is to strengthen the capacity of Business Support Organisations (BSOs) in the food and agriculture sectors so that they may more effectively assist their members to comply with the new regulations and gain access to the EU market.
As a first step towards achieving this goal a needs assessment among 47 BSOs and 114 enterprises was carried out and interviews with state entities were conducted. The results showed clearly that BSOs need to gain trust among their member companies and potential members. There is a definite need for clear communication, strong organizational structures and extensive knowledge of economic matters, including the DCFTA.
Based on the needs assessment, the project consortium will devise and conduct trainings on food safety, export issues and organizational development. Furthermore, BSOs will be supported in developing their membership base and creating sustainable mechanisms for communication channels. Besides public campaigning and communication activities, the project will also implement small grant programme for BSOs to further strengthen their capacities.
The project Food and Agriculture SME Support Initiative (FASSI) is dedicated to strengthen the capacity of Business Support Organisations (BSOs) in the food and agriculture sectors so that they may assist their members to comply with the new regulations according to the DCFTA and gain access to the EU market.
Results of the Needs Assessment
English version: https://goo.gl/A7Eb3n
Georgian Version: https://goo.gl/2AkzqR
For further information please contact:
Mariam Sparsiashvili, PR Consultant, Food and Agriculture SME Support Initiative, Georgian Farmers’ Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamriko Mikadze, Press and Information Officer, Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Tamriko.Mikadze@eeas.europa.eu