IFC helps Georgian farmers introduce global standards to boost export potential

A Georgian framer Ramaz Maisuradze in his small cucumber greenhouse. Photo by agenda.ge
Agenda.ge, 16 Oct 2014 - 15:33, Tbilisi,Georgia

An international financial institution is coming together with the Georgian Farmers’ Association to offer assistance to local farmers as the European market opens up to Georgian products.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the Georgian Farmers’ Association announced they planned to jointly help Georgian farmers introduce key global standards to boost farm production and ramp up exports to the European Union (EU).

The IFC and the Georgian Farmers’ Association hosted a two-day workshop in Tbilisi on October 15 and 16 on GLOBALG.A.P. – an internationally recognised set of farm standards dedicated to good agricultural practices. The standards were also a requirement for exporting to the EU.

Chairwoman of the Georgian Farmers Association Nino Zambakhidze believed this was the first workshop of its kind in the Caucasus. "We joined IFC in this pioneering initiative because we believe that Georgian farmers will benefit from introducing this key international standard, especially in light of the export opportunities provided by the EU-Georgia Association Agreement,” Zambakhidze said.

The GLOBALG.A.P. standard helps companies assess and reduce food safety-related risks and thereby increase consumer confidence in the quality of their products, as well as ensuring a responsible approach to worker health and safety, she said.

Project Manager for the Caucasus, IFC Agribusiness Standards Advisory in Europe and Central Asia Maia Tevzadze noted World Food Day was celebrated globally today and this year focussed on family farming and smallholder farmers.

"This is particularly relevant in Georgia where the majority of the poor lives in rural areas and relies on agriculture for a living.”

She believed by supporting farmers, those communities would grow and develop Georgia's agricultural potential. Agribusiness was a priority for IFC in Europe and Central Asia.

IFC supported growth of the sector through a comprehensive set of investment and advisory services along the agribusiness value chain. The IFC Agribusiness Standards Advisory Program in Europe and Central Asia was part of these efforts. The program was supported with funds from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance.