EU and FAO support development of agricultural extension in Georgia
08/06/2018 – Creating an online library to make modern agricultural advice handbooks and guidebooks available for Georgian farmers, extension specialists and all the interested parties – this was one of the main topics of the meeting organized by FAO and the Working Group on Extension (WGE) of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia (MEPA). The event was held in support to the improvement and development of the agricultural extension services in Georgia which is one of the components of the FAO’s project under European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), funded and supported by the European Union.
The primary goal of the National Strategy for Agricultural Extension approved in 2017 is to improve the competitiveness of the agriculture sector in Georgia by delivering quality advising services to the farmers and upgrading existing 59 Information and Consultation Centers throughout Georgia, turning them into a more coherent, results-oriented farmer demand-driven national extension services.
The meeting today of the WGE, recently established under ministerial decree, brought together department representatives of MEPA and experts from FAO and UNDP. The Working Group will steer the implementation of the National Strategy for Agricultural Extension.
Other than the online library for extension materials, topics discussed on WGE meeting included the preparation of an Extension communication strategy, the development of a methodology to assess the existing extension materials and prepare an inventory of available materials, as well as the proposed methodology to implement a training needs assessment of ICC staff to identify training gaps and the establishment of a monitoring and feedback system to ascertain the quality of the service provided to farmers.
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