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ENPARD stakeholders update on agriculture and rural development in Georgia

ENPARD stakeholders update on agriculture and rural development in Georgia

23.10.2019 – FAO facilitated the meeting of the stakeholders and implementing partners of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) for the 22nd ENPARD Stakeholders’ Meeting. The gathering aimed to share the updates within the EU supported agricultural and rural development projects, and during the meeting, there were several presentations on the updated agricultural extension strategy, the draft law on Aquaculture, agricultural grants, youth initiatives and the rural development governance system.
Ms. Khatia Tsilosani, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and chair of the meeting, briefed the stakeholders on the implementation of the strategies of Agriculture Development, Rural Development and Extension. 
EU Delegation representatives, Ms. Ketevan Khutsishvili, Programme Manager for Rural Development, Civil Protection and Crisis Management and Mr. Georges Dehoux, newly appointed Programme Manager for Agriculture and Food Safety updated the participants on the current state of the ENPARD programme and the upcoming fourth phase of ENPARD, which will continue to support rural development in Georgia as well as food safety issues. 
“The European Union continues to support rural development including agriculture in Georgia. We look forward to the next phase of rural development in Georgia. We hope that our interventions will support the fulfilment of the commitments by Georgia in frames of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) document,” Ketevan Khutsishvili said.
FAO made a presentation on the proposed changes in the Agriculture Extension Strategy, being reviewed, with a focus on an improved coordination of demonstration plots run by NGOs and public and private extension providers. The National Environmental Agency introduced the draft Aquaculture Law for Georgia which will regulate Aquaculture activities in Georgia, a sector that could significantly increase its production, up to 30 000 tones, in both inland waters and the marine environment. 
The ENPARD projects implementing organizations – RFDG and CENN made presentations on the initiatives in support of young farmers in Georgia. FAO introduced the newly launched grant application for the FAO/ENPARD III project, and the Grant Application Platform (www.faogrants.ge) where all interested applicants can get all the information as well as apply online.
The topic of the day was the discussion on the Rural Development governance system in Georgia moderated by UNDP, which allowed for an intense debate amongst the participants mainly focused on the future of Local Action Groups in Georgia.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of the ENPARD implementing partner organizations – UNDP, Mercy Corps, Care, PIN, RDFG, HEKS-EPER, GIPA, CENN, Caritas Czech Republic, Action Against Hunger, but also colleagues from Dutch as well as Czech embassies and Cooperation agencies such as USDA, USAID and SDC. 
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