Khulo Fest Celebrates Local Production in Mountainous Adjara

On August 25, the municipality of Khulo in the Adjara region held Khulo Fest. The event was organized by the Khulo local action group (LAG), in cooperation with Khulo’s City Hall, with the support of the European Union and Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia (CCRG).

On a warm Saturday afternoon, in front of the Khulo Drama Theater, members of the public gathered for an exhibition of local products for sale and sampling. The festival aimed to promote local products and handicrafts such as paintings, souvenirs, decorative trinkets, hand-knit socks, and agricultural products. There was even a corn on the cob-eating contest.

A total of 19 local farmers and artisans had exhibits at the festival. Local tourism providers also offered attendees information on different regional sights and things to do in the area. The town’s main draw for tourists is its cable car. Due to the mountainous terrain, getting from one village to another can be a challenge by foot, car, or horse, so a cable car was installed by the Soviets to improve accessibility. The cable car connects Khulo with the village of Tago. Another interesting aspect of Khulo municipality is that the majority of the population is Muslim, adopted during the Ottoman rule of the area in the 16th – 19th centuries. Beautiful 19th century mosques can be found tucked in the mountains and valleys of mountainous Adjara.

Khulo Fest was attended by tourists and local residents, along with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture of Adjara, UNDP, and local government representatives.

Visitors were treated to performances by local folk dancing groups: Argineti, Mermisi, Khikhani, Bermukha, Khomli, and Khulo, and musical entertainment from local bands Sound Lab, Groovephonics, and DJ Chiki/Rezi. The other main entertainment was the stunning view of Argineti Mountain, serving as the backdrop for the festival.

The EU supports rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD program. Aiming to reduce rural poverty, ENPARD has been implemented since 2013, with a total budget of €179.5 million. The first phase of ENPARD focused on developing national agriculture potential, while the second and third phases focus on creating economic opportunities for the rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. Khulo Fest 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) in partnership with Croatian non-governmental organization HMRR and PMC Research Center, under the European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).

ENPARD conducts several rural development projects in Georgia. Its projects aim at four main target areas – improving the efficiency of institutions involved in agriculture, strengthening cooperation amongst small farmers, improving access to capacity building opportunities for small farmers, and improving employment and living conditions in rural areas. Major projects supported by ENPARD include developing the Strategy of Agricultural Development in Georgia 2015-2020, training over 400 Ministry of Agriculture employees, the adoption of the Law of Georgia on Agricultural Cooperatives, establishing 59 consultation and information centers throughout the country, developing the Rural Development Strategy of Georgia 2017-2020 and Action Plans for 2017 and 2018-2020, and forming LAGs in various municipalities.

By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: European Union

03 September 2018 16:09
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