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ENPARD supports rural development in Borjomi region

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, November 4
The European Union (EU) and the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia held the presentation of the plans for support to Rural Development in Georgia on October 29, 2015.

The Borjomi pilot project will be implemented by renowned NGO Mercy Corps-Scotland along with Borjomi Municipality and Angus Council of Scotland with support from the Austrian Federal Institute for Mountainous and Less Favored Areas.

The presentation was attended by the Project Director at Mercy Corps Mikheil Lomidze, Deputy Agriculture Minister Davit Gelashvili, Representative of UN in Georgia Alvaro Ortega and Governor of Borjomi Municipality Dimitri Kipiani.

The presentation complemented the recently organized launching ceremony in the municipality of Stepantsminda, (MtskhetaMtianeti region) where the Borjomi project was presented along with the other two pilot projects in Lagodekhi and Kazbegi municipalities. The Kazbegi launching ceremony was the starting point to the EU-funded ˆ3 million support to the rural development component under the European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).

The new rural development projects will create Local Action Groups (LAGs), consisting of representatives from local authorities, private sector and civil society, for the elaboration and implementation of local development strategies.

“We will have about 20 members in LAGs, out of which 49% will be from government sector and 51% will be private sector,” said Lomidze.

“The people who want to become a farmer are given a great chance. With our project they have opportunity not only to get financial help, but also to get professional help and learn how to conduct business. All they need is a good business idea, since only the best one will get the grant,” stated Ortega.

“Our ministry is ready to support all the project of this type. ENPARD is doing a good job. They always choose the target regions from the ones which need help the most,” stresse Gelashvili.

Implementation of the new projects will be facilitated by three international NGOs with recognized experience in rural areas of Georgia: CARE-Austria (Lagodekhi), People in Need-Czech Republic (Kazbegi) and Mercy Corps-Scotland (Borjomi).

Also, in Borjomi, ENPARD presented the strategies, methods and innovative approaches in rural development tested by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Government of Finland under their joint initiative with the Government of Georgia in the Borjomi Gorge.

Georgia is at present benefitting from ˆ52 million in support to agriculture and rural development through the EU-funded ENPARD program.

The rural development approach recognizes the unique features of each territory and how communities and local authorities benefit from capacity building and support to identify and implement their own development strategies. On this basis, EU support to rural development over the next years will be expanded to other regions, helping Georgia establish a successful rural development policy following the best practices across Europe. The EU support empower ownership of local development processes in rural areas of Georgia, improving capacities and providing resources and incentives for better rural services and jobs in a variety of activities related to agriculture, eco-tourism and other rural businesses.