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The European Union launches rural development project in Akhmeta municipality

The European Union launches rural development project in Akhmeta municipality

Akhmeta, 22 February 2019 – The European Union launched a new rural development project in Akhmeta in partnership with Action Against Hunger. The project “Promoting Inclusive and Participatory Local Development in Akhmeta Municipality” introduces a bottom-up, inclusive rural development approach that fully engages all communities in the municipality. The project is funded by the European Union within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).
The project follows the earlier EU-supported rural development actions under ENPARD in Borjomi, Lagodekhi, Kazbegi, Dedoplistskaro, Tetritskaro, Akhalkalaki, Keda and Khulo. This year, EU launches rural development projects in four new municipalities that include Akhmeta, Tsalka, Tskaltubo and Mestia.
At the launching event, Action Against Hunger, together with its local partner organisation, the Kakheti Regional Development Foundation (KRDF), presented the project objectives and illustrated the community-led local development approach. The project aims to improve the socio-economic integration of disadvantaged rural communities in the municipality and contribute to poverty reduction.
Opening speeches were delivered by Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia; Irakli Kadagishvili, State Attorney, Governor in the Kakheti Region; Marcella Maxfield, Action Against Hunger South Caucasus Regional Director; Tamar Bekauri, KRDF Executive Director; Giorgi Santuryan, AAH Program Manager. Local Action Group representatives and beneficiaries of previous ENPARD projects in Lagodekhi and Dedoplitskaro also shared their first-hand experience with the audience.
Representatives of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture, Akhmeta local authorities, private and civil society sectors attended the event. Members of the Akhmeta community, potential beneficiaries of the project also took part.

“This project brings together local authorities and community members, who join hands to strengthen and diversify the local economy and improve employment opportunities for people in this municipality. The approach is based on European experience and has been successfully implemented in other regions of Georgia. I am looking forward to seeing the initiatives the project will put forward to improve lives in Akhmeta” – stated EU Ambassador.
Rural development has an important role to play in the sustainable development of Georgia. The key to boosting employment and improving living conditions in rural areas is diversifying the economy and moving away from an over-reliance on agriculture.
The European Union is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. The support is grounded on the best European practices in the field and involves improving livelihoods of rural communities through creating economic opportunities and promoting local public-private partnerships. Implemented since 2013 the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. For more information please visit: www.enpard.ge