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Swiss Ambassador meets with new Minister of Agriculture

Wednesday, August 27
The Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr. Guenther Baechler, has paid a visit to the new Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Otar Danelia. The goal of the meeting was an exchange of views and the exploration of fields of cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Swiss Development Cooperation Office in Tbilisi.

Since Georgia became independent agricultural production has been decreasing dramatically. Productivity is very low till today: employment in the rural sector is as high as 52% whereas the share of agriculture in GDP is barely 9%. Both sides agreed that agriculture is one of the most important sectors in order to promote sustainable social and economic development in Georgia.

The Swiss Ambassador was accompanied by the Head of the Swiss Development Cooperation Office in Tbilisi, Mr. Rudolf Schoch. He presented to the Minister the Cooperation Program which includes value chains and market development (e.g. for potatoes), agricultural financing and insurance, pasture management as well as agricultural extension and vocational education. The program focuses on family farming in some of the most vulnerable areas of the country.

The Minister of Agriculture who received the Swiss guests together with his Deputies Nodar Kereselidze and David Galegashvili confirmed that the new Strategy for Agriculture Development which was presented in July will be fully implemented although, some amendments will be made by the end of September. The Minister also elaborated on his priorities such as the improvement of irrigation systems, the introduction of agricultural insurance, the enhancing food safety, and the promoting of organic farming.

Both sides agreed to exchange views regularly and to further develop the close collaboration in order to strengthen the agricultural sector in Georgia. (Swiss Embassy)