25/07/2018 – FAO brought together the stakeholders and implementing partners of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) for the 17th ENPARD stakeholders’ meeting. The gathering aimed to share the updates within the EU supported agricultural and rural development projects, and the discussion on the “topic of the day” was focused on the access to finance for agriculture and rural development projects in Georgia and allowed for a vibrant discussion amongst the stakeholders.
The meeting was opened by Mr. Nodar Kereselidze, First Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture. He summarized the ongoing activities under ENPARD II and III Phases and updated the participants on the recent achievements in the implementation of the Strategies of Agriculture and Rural Development of Georgia.
The Programme Managers of the EU Delegation to Georgia, Alvaro Aparicio Ortega and Cristina Casella briefed the audience on the status of the implementation of ENPARD phase II and phase III.
Special attention was paid to the topic of the day – Financial Mechanisms for Agricultural and Rural Development initiatives. The presenters from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Mercy Corps, Association of Business Consulting Organizations of Georgia (ABCO), APMA and FAO made several presentations regarding topics such as access to finance in the livestock sector, warehouse receipts for hazelnuts, guarantee funds, preferential agrocredit programme of APMA, the constraints of banks and financial institutions for financing projects in Agriculture and Rural Development.
The presentation on contract farming received a lot of attention of the audience, as it is deemed as a mechanism that could play a significant role in the future when trying to link the producers at farm level with the market needs and the retailers. At the same time, a contract farming could be used to reduce the risk profile of farmers when requesting loans to banks or microfinance institutions.
The meeting was concluded with the updates of the representatives of the ENPARD implementing partner organizations. FAO, UNDP, Mercy Corps, Care, PIN, RDFG, HEKS-EPER, GIPA, CENN, Caritas Czech Republic on the progress within their projects.
The European Union is supporting rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Aiming to reduce rural poverty, ENPARD has been implemented since 2013, with a total budget of Euro 179.5 million. The first phase of ENPARD focused on developing national agriculture potential, while the second and third phases focus on creating economic opportunities for the rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge