Latvia LAG hosted the represantatives of Georgian LAGs to share the experience
Within the framework of the EU funded rural development project, on August 21-25, meetings were organized in Riga, Latvia, between Georgian and Latvian LAGs and their partners. The aim of the visit was to share Latvian experience of establishing and developing the equine industry. Latvian LAG hosted the members of Lagodekhi, Borjomi and Tetritskaro LAGs, as well as representatives from the organizations: CARE, Mercy Corps and Association Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG). Experts and different business representatives also attended the meeting.
The visit was intense and full of new experiences. It included various meetings with Latvian LAG members, Latvian officials, and several field visits. Georgian LAG members visited horse-riding businesses and the funded projects. They also met with representatives of the Equestrian Federation of Latvia and the Municipality of Engure, attended the jump barrier competition and visited wine and strong spirits enterprises as well.
Particularly memorable were the introduction to the variety of services that the Latvian horse business offers to its visitors. The members were excited to see the horses for various purposes: sport horses for fitness centers and therapy, horses for yoga training, providing services to children, tourists and local population as well. In addition, the participants found out that every owner in Latvia has an individual method of horse care, and were introduced with some of them. LAG members also had the opportunity to visit the Latvian University of Agriculture (equine clinic), which was well equipped with the modern technologies and qualified staff.
Sharing of experience was very essential for the development, and future work of Georgian LAGs, as they have found out a lot of new information, including the experiences that are not established in Georgia yet. Furthermore, LAG members explored some legislative regulations that will significantly assist the Georgian LAGs in dealing with different cases in future. It was important for Georgian participants to see the experience of more developed country so that they could consider it in their future work.
LAG members were very content with the visit, and thought that it was beneficial. Based on the Latvian experience, LAG members mentioned that “it is important to develop a local equine industry, diversify services, and establish the Latvian experience in Georgia”. With more information provided by Latvians, it will be easier for them to manage the development of local equine industry.
The visit was held under the EU-funded project « Strengthening Rural Development Models in Georgia (RDP) » is the continuation of ENPARD participatory Rural Development Project (second phase). Rural Development Project in Georgia is part of European Neighbourhood Program for Agriculture and Rural development ENPARD-Georgia, a European programme designed to improve employment and living conditions in rural areas of Georgia.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The second and third phases of ENPARD focus on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at www.enpard.ge