More than 700 farmers from all over Georgia participated in training programmes organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in 2020 with the support of the European Union. The sessions under the ENPARD programme covered many important topics, including soil preparation and seed selection, irrigation, harvesting, post-harvest storage and transportation to the markets.
“Nearly half of the Georgia’s population depends on agriculture for their livelihood and the other half – for their food security,” said Programme Manager for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Safety at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia Georges Dehoux. “EU and FAO work together to increase farms’ productivity across the country by introducing modern, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective production techniques… As a result, beneficiary farmers are collecting up to 40% larger and better quality yields with 30% lower costs. But, more importantly farmers are enthusiastically disseminating their new found skills, and that should lead to a much more productive agriculture in the country.”
With more than 40 demonstration plots established in various regions of Georgia, the country’s farmers had the opportunity to observe and learn the best agricultural practices in the field first-hand. A special series of training was provided to 263 hazelnut growers in the Kakheti region. Sessions on climate-smart agriculture methods were conducted in 11 municipalities of Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Shida Kartli, Imereti, Guria and Adjara.
“The times are really hard: due to the pandemic, I had challenges with selling my harvest this year. However, with the installed drip irrigation system, I was able to harvest and sell my melons even after all the other melon plots in the community ran out of produce,” says Lali Sikhashvili, a female farmer from the Akhmeta municipality who took part in the training programme.
The farmer’s training programmes continue all year round, covering both the normal season and off-season production. FAO agronomists supported open field and properly managed greenhouse production. During the pandemic the training process followed the governmental regulations for public gatherings.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of €234.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to provide economic opportunities in rural areas and to reduce poverty in Georgia.
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