The European Neighborhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) provided grants to 35 small cooperatives of farmers.
ENPARD provides grants to farmers
Wednesday, February 4
The grants were awarded following a selection process, to which over 700 small farmer groups applied for ENPARD support.
More than 200 among them have been pre-selected following strict criteria based on the business’ sustainability and cooperation record. These pre-selected groups have been trained in cooperative management and business planning.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Nodar Kereselidze said that a strong country is a reflection of a well-developed rural system.
“To develop rural people is our country’s priority,” stated Kereselidze.
Deputy Head of the EU delegation to Georgia Boris Iarochevitch said that cooperative systems have a great future in Georgia.
“In the future, Georgia will not just be able to feed itself, but to export as well,” stated Iarochevitch.
The Project manager of the ENPAR Juan Echanove said that improving the agricultural situation means improving life itself.
“Today we gave grants to people who we think are ready to do business. We chose the strongest among the beneficiaries. When we were starting, we were told that cooperatives would not work in Georgia, because people hated the idea, an idea which they remembered from the Soviet era. However, now the attitude is more positive,” stated Echanove.
Head of the Agriculture Cooperatives Development Agency Giorgi Misheladze said that ENPARD decreased the negative attitude that people had toward cooperatives faster than they expected.
“We now have 499 cooperatives comprised of 3,426 people in total. Women have become very active as well. We have 920 women in cooperatives,” stated Misheladze.
One of the grant recipients Otar Giorgadze, said that thanks to ENPARD, he and his comrades from cooperative are doing business with more responsibility.
ENPARD Georgia is a ˆ52 million EU-funded program signed in December 2012. ENPARD aims at boosting the production of food in Georgia and reducing rural poverty.