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Mixed fodder factory opened in Tsnisi

Monday, January 17
A mixed fodder producing factory was recently launched in Tsnisi, Akhaltsikhe district, within the framework of “Farmers to Markets” project implemented by CARE International in the Caucasus. Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ms. Vera Kobalia, Governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti region, Lasha Chkadua, senior management of BP and CARE International in the Caucasus attended the opening ceremony.

The Tsnisi fodder factory is owned and operated by Georgian Business Zone (GBZ) which has invested 100,000 USD in the enterprise and additionally received a grant of 40,000 USD within the framework of the FtM project, initiated and funded by BP and its oil and gas co-venturers.

After seeing the enterprises Economy Minister Vera Kovalia said this is an important investment in the agriculture sector. “We should support small and medium-size businesses like these ones, since they create new jobs and bring important benefits to the regions,” Minister Vera Kobalia said.

GBZ will buy grain from around 500 farmers in the FtM target communities as well as in the neighbourhood communities in Samtkhe-Javakheti to produce animal feed. The factory has a capacity to produce five tons of fodder an hour. In October the factory acquired an ISO 22000 food safety certificate and ISO 9001 quality management certificate from IQ NET.

“Cattle breeding is a traditional and one of the most important branches of the economy in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region but there meeting the rising demand of mixed fodder has been difficult because of a lack of a fodder factory in the region. Whilst making mixed fodder available on the local markets at reasonable prices, the factory will also stimulate grain cultivation in the region by allowing the farmers to sell their harvests locally,” said George Glonti, Programme Operations Manager at CARE International in the Caucasus.

The use of mixed fodder is expected to boost milk production in the region which will bring additional incomes for the farmers and will help GBZ increase output of its Tsnisi milk processing enterprise. GBZ buys milk from local farmers through its milk collection centres and processes it to produce the Akhaltsikhuri brand of cheese. Increased milk yields will allow the company to meet rising customer demand on its product. GBZ established the Tsnisi dairy two years ago with the support from the FtM project implemented by CARE International in the Caucasus and Agribusiness Development Activity by Millennium Challenge Georgia Fund (MCG).

“Farmers to Markets” project is part of the Community Development Initiative initiated and funded by BP and its coventurers. CARE International in the Caucasus launched its implementation project in March 2008 and will reach completion in February 2011. The project aims at providing livelihood security of the local population living in rural areas along the routes of oil and gas pipelines in Georgia by improving access to agricultural services and markets.

The Farmers to Markets helps over 600 farmers in getting their goods to markets, gaining knowledge, strengthening their capacity and developing marketing skills. Six consolidation centers have been established in the targeted communities to strengthen agriculture value chains. These center purchase agricultural produce from farmers, process them and sell them on markets. The consolidation centers have been co-funded within the project while the business partners were selected through an open competition.