20 May, 2021. Keda, Adjara – The Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, Mr. Carl Hartzell paid an official visit to Keda Municipality of Adjara to see the results and achievement of the four-year work of the EU supported ENPARD project “Keda LEADER”.
The project, implemented by the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), helped mobilize local communities and initiate various social and economic actions to improve lives in rural Adjara. Key achievement of the project is the establishment of Local Action Groups (LAGs) in Keda, which has mobilized local communities, brought together civil society, private and public sector representatives and designed local development strategies to meet the local priorities and needs. Through Keda LAG, the EU supported total of 97 development initiatives and helped create over 300 new jobs in the municipality of Keda. These initiatives promote local entrepreneurship and diversification of economic and social activities in various areas, including agriculture, tourism, infrastructure development, education, environment, municipal services, etc.
“The Keda LEADER project has been successful in promoting inclusive rural growth and improving the well-being of rural communities via the implementation of innovative approaches that generate diverse employment opportunities, promote climate smart practices, develop integrated natural resource management, and protect the environment. Over 90 local businesses and entrepreneurs have been supported in Keda that are already operating successfully. As an organisation we are glad to have supported environmentally friendly and climate resilient actions and initiatives such as youth empowerment, eco-tourism, green energy, and agro-tourism,“ highlighted CENN Executive Director Nana Janashia.
During the visit, Ambassador Hartzell met with the members of the Keda LAG and visited the following six project sites in the municipality:
Dried Fruit Enterprise “Kerki” - Launched in 2021 and produces various dry products from processed raw material such as dried fruits, tklapi (a dried and fattened fruit porridge), candied citrus peels, churchkhela, and other walnut products. The enterprise uses renewable energy resources and energy saving technologies such as solar and geothermal energy. The enterprise was renovated and the building was prepared for production and equipped with all the necessary inventory. Equipment for transport and distribution and other important resources were also purchased.
Family hotel and winery “Château Iveri” – A high-class hotel and winery that has become an attractive ethnographic experience for tourists. It offers tourists a variety of services: accommodation, meals, experiencing local cuisine, folk -art and crafts, and wine tasting. With the support of the EU/ENPARD Keda LEADER project, the Beridze family turned their business into a high-class ethno-style hotel with a winery, thus attracting more visitors and tourists.
Luxury Camping “Hill Inn” – The project has laid a solid foundation for innovative approaches to the development of rural tourism in the region. With the luxury camping hotel, guests are offered a variety of services, including a cinema screen for projecting films, a small library, a Jacuzzi spa, and a sauna. Due to its advantageous location, the camping site is open year-round. Two isolated glamping structures with unique landscape views were built on elevated platforms on land with an area of 5000 m2. The interior of the hotel was designed according to modern standards. Solar panels were installed and the rooms were equipped with all the necessary items for the comfort of the guests.
Keda Public School - The project Keda LEADER helped set up a modern study space within the Vakhtang Papunidze Public School, which provides an important opportunity for students to develop creativity and leadership skills. The aim was to create a shared space where students can generate ideas and thoughts, work in teams, have access to modern technologies, and carry out educational and cultural projects. The space was equipped with modern technologies and furniture. In addition, with the support of the EU the school was equipped with the energy efficient technologies.
Veterinary Clinic - With the support of Keda Leader, A (A) IP Agroservice Center opened a veterinary clinic for livestock farmers for veterinary-sanitary and zoo-hygiene services. The clinic is fully equipped with the necessary medicines, equipment and technology for operations, as well as vet laboratories. The clinic can service an average of 26,000 to 36,000 livestock owned by approximately 18,000 residents in the Keda district.
Shervashidzeebi’s Winery – Located in the village of Pirveli Maisi in the highlands of Ajara, the project offers guests wooden cottages, styled after iconic stilted structures from traditional local architecture known as Nalia. Visitors can enjoy the views of the local landscape and take this unique opportunity to taste wine and try out traditional Georgian dishes. The family hotel offers its guests 1 or 2-day tours, which include visits to historical monuments from the 10th-12th century. The hotel also offers unique adventure sports such as zip lining. Alexandre Shervashidze, an experienced entrepreneur, has a profound knowledge of local culture and history and often guides the tours himself. His winery opened in 2006 and, owing to the property’s exceptional nature and quiet environment, the winery enjoys great popularity in Keda municipality.
The project “Optimising the Potential of Local Assets for Rural Development of Keda Municipality” (Keda Leader), is implemented with the financial support of the EU by CENN in partnership with the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG), Institute of Democracy (IoD) and the Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and Spatial Planning (ÖIR).
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 234.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to provide economic opportunities in rural area and reduce poverty in Georgia. More information on ENPARD is available at www.eu4Georgia.ge/enpard. More information on Keda LAG is available at www.kedalag.ge.