Courtyard Marriott hotel hosted discussions over cooperation between the private sector (processing, customers, financial institutions, insurance companies) and small farmers. The event was organized by OXFAM international consortium, biological farming association ELKANA and the European Union office. Along with representatives of donor organizations, the discussions were also attended by representatives of the Agriculture Ministry and the National Food Agency.
LLC AgriGeorgia is a representative of Ferrero Spa, the world’s famous chocolate manufacturing brand. AgriGeorgia owns filberts plantations in the Samegrelo Region. The company director Daniel Gonzalez Dellacha says Georgia’s filbert production has got much potential for development.
“We arrived in Georgia in 2007, when the country lacked for filberts production technologies. Therefore, we decided to work with the domestic farmers. We founded the Association of Filberts Manufacturers and launched a training of farmers. In the course of time the farmers acquired due knowledge and skills, we also shared our experience and know-how to them. No one expected Georgian farmers to make success, but they have done. We have organized filberts drying centers and now farmers sell their products at 20% higher prices. We provide information in filberts prices in everyday regime and clients cannot cheat farmers any more. As a result, farmers have become stronger. In terms of filberts production Georgia will soon compete with Turkey”.
If the country misses the chance for the agriculture sector development, we will receive negative results, Deputy Agriculture Minister David Galegashvili says.
“We have got the chance for making the Agriculture sector stronger and if we miss this chance, villages will be empted finally. This will also bring politically negative affects to the country. The agrarian sector development, first of all, is hindered by the fact local self-governments lack for knowledge and skills. There are consulting centers for farmers and farmers also exist in regions, but, in realty, none of them operate efficiently”, he added.
Daniel Gonzalez Dellacha believes donors should coordinate their efforts to the benefit of the Georgian agriculture sector and they should not spend funds without purpose: “Many donors support the Georgian Agriculture sector, but these processes are not coordinated. We should cast light whether they duplicate the processes. We should meet with government officials at least once a month to receive clear messages without ambiguities. Coordinated steps will ensure purposeful spending of the funds”.
The government should play a decisive role in resolving the current problems before the farmers, Juan Jose Echanove, Attaché of Agriculture, Food Safety and Rural Development for EU Delegation to Georgia says.
“A major part of the Georgian population receives incomes from the agriculture sector. The government should realize it should cooperate with farmers. EU will promote the development of the Georgian agriculture sector, but long-term projects should be implemented to reach success and all of us should realize this”, he noted.
Tight cooperation between farmers and the government is of vital importance, Benia Trudel, a regional manager for the food safety project, said.
“We assist farmers; cooperate with the government in developing a state strategy. There is high level of imports in Georgia. Therefore, bilateral relations between farmers and the Authorities are very important”.