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Opportunities in Rural Development for Small Farmers in Georgia

Published: July 5, 2012 | 10:23 am
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The COMMERCIAL TIMES

USAID Mission Director in Caucasus Region: “The conference serves as a ground for sharing information, experience and establishing important relations for future collaboration and cooperation”

On June 21, 2012, the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia (AmCham), CARE international in the Caucasus (CIC), the European Union (EU), Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO), Swiss Agency for development and Cooperation (SDC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) co-hosted a conference on the Opportunities in Rural Development for Small Farmers, in Tbilisi, Georgia. Senior representatives from international and local NGOs, the Government of Georgia, diplomatic community, private sector, academic institutions and agriculture sector  participated in the event.

The goal of the conference was to raise awareness about rural development and to build a broad network of engaged actors to take this topic forward. “The main purpose of the conference is, of course, to raise awareness of the current state of agriculture in Georgia and its prospects. It serves as a ground for sharing information, experience and establishing important relations for future collaboration and cooperation. It is also a conference, which emphasizes the importance of the agribusiness for the economic development in Georgia. There are several major issues in Georgia, that is the lack of economic opportunity, isolation, unemployment and poverty which poses great threats to the welfare of any state. Although the attempts of the country to improve, even at its most severe times, are impressive and stressing the importance of agriculture in terms of stable economic development is our priority.”- Stated Ioakim Parker, USAID Mission Director in Caucasus Region.

The conference intended to explore three sub-themes: the role of agriculture in rural development, the role of gender in rural development, and the role of youth in the rural development. To unite these elements, the discussion centered on the distribution of roles and responsibilities between the key stakeholders in all three areas. “A significant number of Georgian citizens live in rural areas, and their main source of income is working in the agricultural sector. This specific conference is stressing the importance of the youth on the path of the development of the rural areas of Georgia, along with the role of women in the agribusiness and the importance of their participation in the ongoing processes for an effective development of the country’s agricultural sector, which would be beneficial for every stakeholder. These topics are mostly significant for the minority regions which lack the participation of the youth and women in the above-mentioned sector.” – declared Ramon Reigada Granda, Representative of EU in Georgia, Head of Operations Section.

The conference represented a possibility for sharing opinions between diverse set of stakeholders, which is vitally important for a country which mostly depends on the strength of the agricultural progress. It was an event focusing on the ways of including small-scale farmers in economic development in the rural areas. “The development of agriculture is a priority of the policy pursued by the government, and the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia is working in the right direction towards the promotion of the agricultural sector. Definitely, one of the most important aspects of the development is establishing contacts, sharing information and experience, collaborating with our foreign colleagues and representatives of different governmental and non-governmental organizations. Not to say the least, this conference represents a perfect opportunity for such activities, and it is also a possibility to further analyze the current progress along with drawbacks and flaws in the agribusiness of Georgia.” – Stated Eteri Kamarauli, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia.

It is notable, that the conference was not a stand-alone event, but a strenuous endeavor to hold networking events, aiming at enhancing sustainable rural development.

 

 

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