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Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia and Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative, met with an FAO-ENPARD project beneficiaries on their first day of suppling Majid Al Futtaim Carrefour Georgia with their yield.
David and Valentina Kapanadze are smallholder farmers from Lagodekhi municipality, who received assistance from FAO agronomists and experts under the EU-funded ENPARD programme to establish a sweet corn demo plot utilising modern European standards and practices. The project then helped David and Valentina establish links with large scale retailer Carrefour, which will regularly purchase the premium quality sweet corn from Kapanadze family from tomorrow onward.
“Support to agriculture to improve the livelihoods of farmers and those living in rural areas remain key priorities for the EU in Georgia under our ENPARD programme. As part of this work, together with FAO, we are working with local farmers like Dato and Valentina to spread modern farming practices and to create direct business relationships between farmers and retailers. This early success story shows that there are viable economic opportunities for smallholder farmers in Georgia with high-quality products. This is just the beginning, as we hope to stimulate more relationships like this one, promoting further the brand "Made in Georgia" for which there is growing consumer demand,” noted Ambassador Hartzell.
“FAO together with the EU carries out important activities for agricultural and rural development in Georgia and it’s impressive to see such achievements within this project. By supporting the government in delivering quality advising services to the farmers and assisting them to connect with the retailers we can reach our bigger goals – improve lives of people and enhance competitiveness of the agriculture sector in Georgia. Today’s event is one more contribution to these goals,” Raimund Jehle said.
“We are delighted with the contribution of Majid Al Futtaim Carrefour in the success of this project. Support local farmers in promoting high quality “Made in Georgia” products have always been one of the priorities of the company. Along with our main focus to provide our customers with the fresh products directly from the farm, we are glad to be a part of the successful collaboration which not only helps agricultural development of the country but creates more job opportunities for Georgian citizens,” Christophe Orcet, Carrefour Georgia Country Manager said.
“I would have never imagined that one day I could sell my yield in Carrefour. I am so happy that people are buying my sweet corn. This is the first case of my collaboration with Carrefour, which I hope will continue in future. I am so grateful to EU and FAO for this opportunity,” said David Kapanadze, farmer from Lagodekhi municipality.
This is the first example of successful contract farming aimed at gaining higher income for the smallholder and promoting products produced in Georgia, and should lead to more collaborations between smallholder farmers and retailers in Georgia under the EU-supported FAO-ENPARD project. Ultimately, it should pave the way to larger collaborations between smallholder farmers and retailers to promote ‘Made in Georgia’ premium products to the end-consumers.
The project, which supports the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia (MEPA) in the implementation of the National Strategy for Agricultural Extension 2018-2019, will delivering agricultural extension services, including consulting and supporting farmers with demo plot arrangements. It organizes farmer field schools, theoretical and practical training activities for lead farmers, Farmers’ Information-Consulting Centers of the ministry and interns from Agrarian University. Within the project, FAO experts arrange various types of demonstration plots of potatoes, wheat, maize, cucumber, eggplant and sweet corn, focusing on the municipalities of Dedoplistskaro, Akhalkalaki, Khazbegi and Lagodekhi.
The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) is recognised as one of the most successful agriculture and rural development initiatives funded by the European Union in Georgia. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in the country. For more information please visit www.enpard.ge.