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EU and Georgia Launch Two Large-scale Projects to Support Sustainable Rural Development

EU-funded projects with budget of EUR 22 million (approx. GEL 60 million) implemented by UNDP and FAO will provide direct assistance to rural communities and support Georgian and Ajara Autonomous Republic governments on sustainable agriculture and rural development policy.

Christian Danielsson, Director-General at the European Commission, Mikheil Janelidze, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs a.i. of Georgia, and Nodar Kereselidze, First Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, launched two large-scale projects for rural development and sustainable agriculture, funded under the EU’s European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).

The two projects with a total budget of EUR 22 million (approx. GEL 60 million) will focus on different aspects of sustainable rural development in Georgia.

– The project “FAO support to Georgian agricultural sector under ENPARD-3” with a budget of EUR 12 million (approx. GEL 33 million) will provide direct assistance to rural communities and farm holdings and support the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia on agriculture policy. It will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

– The project “ENPARD-3: Improving Rural Development in Georgia” with a budget of EUR 10 million (approximately GEL 27 million), will provide direct assistance to non-agriculture related economy in rural areas and support the Government of Georgia and the Ajara Autonomous Republic Government on rural development policy.  It will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Both projects are fully funded by the EU and will last 60 months.  They are part of the third phase of the EU’s ENPARD programme, which assists Georgia to reduce rural poverty, boost development potential of rural areas, and create economic and social opportunities for people.

The launch of both projects in Kobuleti, on 15 June 2018, was attended by EU and Georgian Government officials, representatives of the United Nations, Ajara Autonomous Republic leadership, as well as partners and beneficiaries of the ENPARD programme – civil society organizations, international agencies, private companies and local farmers.

“The Association Agreement with the European Union and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) are opening the door for Georgian products to reach 500 million European consumers. Strong rural development will assist the people of Georgia to take advantage of these opportunities,” – said Christian Danielsson, Director-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

Minister of Foreign Affairs a.i. of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze stressed that rural development is one of the strategic areas in Georgia’s deepening cooperation with the European Union.

“Speedy structural and legislative reforms move Georgia closer to the EU policies, legislation and practices in many sectors, including rural development,” – he noted.

“In the coming five years, we will focus on the three main areas – the diversification of local economy, increased competitiveness of Georgian agriculture, and improvements in the environmental protection and sustainable management of natural resources,” – said Nodar Kereselidze, First Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.

Niels Scott, UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia, noted that rural development marks a fundamental shift in the overall development of Georgia.

“The United Nations, through its Development Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization, will continue cooperation with the European Union and Georgian Government to enhance the progress achieved in rural development. Since 2013, our joint efforts had a direct impact on tens of thousands of people in different regions of the country. We also helped create strong rural development policies and pilot successful practices for the benefit of people and communities,” Niels Scott said.

The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) has been implemented in Georgia since 2013, with a total budget of €179.5 million. Its first phase focused on developing the national agriculture potential, while the second and third phases aim to create economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge.