EU Supporting Agricultural Initiatives in Georgia

The European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) has been implemented in Georgia since 2013. It aims to reinvigorate the agriculture and the rural sector in the country by facilitating the cooperation between the government, civil society, and rural community. The total budget for ENPARD in Georgia, covering the period of 2013-2022, is €179.5 million and it was broken down in three phases: I Phase – € 52 million, 2014-2017; II Phase – € 50 million, 2016-2019; III Phase – € 77.5 million, 2018-2022.

Since New Year means new opportunities, the second cycle of grants in the program has just been announced.

On January 1, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), under the EU-funded European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD III), announced the second cycle of a grant competition to support agricultural initiatives in Georgia.

The competition includes two categories of grants. Within Grant Category 1, agricultural initiatives will be funded for farmers, rural households, cooperatives and SMEs whose farms and businesses operate in one of the following municipalities: Lagodekhi, Dedoplistskaro, Tetriskaro, Akhalkalaki, Borjomi, Kazbegi, Keda or Khulo. These are the eight municipalities where the rural development LEADER projects are implemented under EU-funded ENPARD program. Grant Category 1 will support capital investments like machinery and equipment in any sector of agriculture.

Grant Category 2 will support farmers, rural households, cooperatives and SMEs who operate in the municipalities of Akhaltsikhe, Dusheti, Khelvachauri, Shuakhevi, Marneuli, Bolnisi, Dmanisi, Gardabani, Tsalka, Ninotsminda, Aspindza, Kvareli, Gurjaani and Signaghi. This grant category follows a value chain approach and aims to support the following five sectors: beef (in all municipalities), dairy (in all municipalities), vegetable (in Kvareli, Gurjaani and Sighnaghi), wheat (in Sighnaghi) and potato production (in Tsalka, Ninotsminda and Aspindza).

What’s more, the grant competition gives an opportunity to cooperatives registered in all the regions of Georgia to obtain co-financing.

The objectives of this grant initiative are to improve access to finance, services, equipment and inputs for farmers, rural households, cooperatives and other small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas. These improvements are expected to contribute to increased competitiveness in the agricultural sector and better livelihoods for people living in rural areas.

There are some restrictions to the grant: the competition does not cover operating expenditures such as input, working capital and seeds, and the required contribution that can be provided by the project should not be below $1,000 or above $150,000 for the application to be considered eligible.

The initiative will provide 40% grants and requires beneficiaries to co-invest a minimum of 60% of the total investment requirement.

The initiative also aims to support specific investments with high economic, social, and environmental impact and will increase the level of support in such cases to 60%.

The Georgian farmers willing to participate have some time to prepare: applications will be accepted until March 31, 2020. Website provides full information about the dates, application submission, required supporting documents, and promoted investments.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

Image source: European Union

13 January 2020 16:57