Georgian Agriculture Minister Otar Shamugua and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative Raimund Jehle On Friday, March 25, signed an agreement aimed at improving the productivity and competitiveness of agricultural farms in Georgia as well as providing assistance to micro, small, and medium-sized agriculture and food production enterprises.
The FAO Country Programming Framework, signed by the parties, also includes strengthening the country’s export potential and facilitating the implementation of an information and consultation service strategy for farmers.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, the UN organisation will also assist the Ministry in setting food safety standards and developing traceability systems, which will benefit both agricultural product consumers and producers.
The agreement, which runs from 2021 to 2025, also intends to enhance Georgia’s agro-food systems and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals as part of FAO’s new Strategic Framework 2022–2031.
Smallholders and family farms will be supported to improve their productivity and competitiveness, as well as their livelihoods and agro-food systems, through targeted support for rural populations, “especially for disadvantaged groups, such as women and conflict-affected people,” according to the FAO in Georgia.
Moreover, Jehle said FAO would support the transformation of food systems in Georgia via the agreement, adding that “leaving no one behind utilising the potential of agro-food system transformation will be a key principle for support to Georgia.”
The FAO will implement a $10 million “large-scale project” funded by the European Union’s European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development, according to the Georgian Minister, adding that the project will provide “additional assistance” to the country in food safety and the introduction of standards to “increase the potential for Georgian products to be exported to EU member states.”
The agreement between them also provides assistance to the agriculture and agri-food sectors in adapting to climate change.