On 7-13 May 2018, with the support of EU, Croatian Rural Development Network (HMRR) organized a study visit of Khulo Local Action Group (LAG) members to Croatia. During one week, the Georgian delegation held meetings with the representatives of LAGs in the Lika and Dalmatia regions and visited several rural development projects.
The objectives of the visit was to get hands-on experience in the implementation of the European rural development model – LEADER approach, to understand the principles of the work of Croatian LAG’s and learn about their successful initiatives .
Khulo LAG members initially visited traditional agro market (fruit, vegetables, meat, fish) in Zagreb that is supplied mostly from nearby rural areas. They also met with Lika LAG representatives and visited local rural development projects. The Georgian delegation visited several successful family farms, some of them Lika LAG Quality certificate holders: Traditional Croatian cow buša farm, distillery of 15 types of schnapps and dairy farm that produces three types of cheese. In Lika region, Khulo LAG members paid visit to information centre of Velebit National Park. Centre is equipped with modern technology and is frequently visited by educational tours. LAG members also met the representatives of a local non-governmental organisation working on restocking a nearby river with autochthonous type of trout and crabs and employs four people.
The visit was held in Dalmatia region as well. Dalmatia’s local government is actively involved in volunteer projects and together with local associations and LAGs implements several development projects. Khulo LAG members met with the representatives of local municipality and received detailed information about the activities and planned events. In addition, LAG members met with local non-governmental organisation that works tightly with LAGs and municipality on youth, heritage and volunteering projects. In Dalmatia, LAG members also visited Nature Park protecting an environmentally important lake and met its administration representative. The lake administration has some development projects with local LAG Laura.
“This was a comprehensive and extremely interesting visit. We saw a number of practical examples of the successful application of LEADER approach in rural development. It was interesting to meet with LAG “more 249″, which already implements international projects in support of youth,” said Khulo LAG Chairman, Rodam Shavadze.
The study visit was organized in the framework of the EU-funded project “Promotion of Rural Development and Diversification in Khulo Municipality” implemented by Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia (CCRG) under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).
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 first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. 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.