TBILISI. 25 December 2017 – Farmers’ cooperatives, local tourism, infrastructure, environmental challenges and youth activities were in focus of the meetings in Lagodekhi and Kazbegi in December 2017, organised by the Government of Georgia, with assistance from the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under the EU-funded ENPARD programme.
The meetings brought together more than 150 representatives of the national and local authorities, civil society, private sector and community organizations, as well as the Local Action Groups (LAGs) established to promote rural development initiatives in their respective communities.
The participants received first-hand information about the state programmes and initiatives that support rural development and the growth of local business in the regions, in line with the national rural development action plan for 2018-2020. The public officials presented the ongoing initiatives, such as “Produce in Georgia”, programmes by the Agriculture Projects’ Management Agency (APMA), business support initiatives by the Georgian Innovation and Technologies Agency (GITA), and many more.
The consultations in the regions aimed to improve communication and encourage partnership among the rural development stakeholders – Government, civil society, business, local communities, and promote the effective implementation of rural development policies that should create jobs and raise life standards in rural areas.
The meetings in Lagodekhi and Kazbegi are the first in a series of consultations that will be held in eight municipalities of Georgia that are piloting Local Action Groups (LAGs) with the assistance of the ENPARD implementing agencies – Lagodekhi (CARE), Kazbegi (People in Need), Borjomi (Mercy Corps), Akhalkalaki (GIPA), Dedoplistskaro (HEKS–EPER), Tetritskaro (RDFG), Keda (CENN) and Khulo (Caritas-Georgia).
The European Union is supporting rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Aiming to reduce rural poverty in Georgia, ENPARD has been implemented since 2013, with the total budget of EUR 102 million. The first phase of ENPARD focused on developing the national agriculture potential, while the second phase focuses on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge.