UN offers Georgia advice on farming cooperatives

The strategy and recommendations about how to develop the cooperatives in Georgia will be introduced in July.
Agenda.ge, 13 Mar 2015 - 17:05, Tbilisi,Georgia

Representatives of a United Nations (UN) agency that aims to eliminate world hunger and ensure food security are coming to Georgia to discuss ways to develop farming cooperatives.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) consultants John Millns and Kiran Ganon have arrived in Georgia. While here, the officials will share international experience for successfully developing agricultural cooperatives with the Georgian side.

The FAO consultants have already met Georgia’s Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia, where the Minister spoke about how the process employed by Georgia as it worked to develop cooperatives here.

Already there are almost 500 registered cooperatives in Georgia which cultivates thousands of tonnes of fruit and vegetables, however the Government plans to develop this area further.

Danelia said there were several challenges facing the Ministry that made it difficult to establish agricultural cooperatives but he believed cooperatives were the future of Georgian farming.

"Our goal is to create business-oriented farms and support them. This will raise the competitiveness among the farms,” he said.

"At the same time, cooperatives will give farmers the possibility to have easy access to the services. The farmers should have information about all the privileges that the cooperatives will give them,” Danelia said.

FAO consultants Millns and Ganon promised they will design a Cooperatives’ Development Strategy and offer recommendations, as to how Georgia can establish a cooperatives financing scheme. The strategy and recommendations will be introduced in July 2015.

To date there are 499 registered cooperatives in Georgia which cultivate 20,000 hectares of land. In total the cooperatives annually harvest 16,500 tonnes of agricultural products including 5,600 tonnes of citrus, 3,600 tonnes of potato and 2,500 tonnes of milk.

Furthermore, the cooperatives unite 920 women.

To date more than €2 million (4.65 million GEL) has been allocated to improve the qualifications of farmers involved in cooperatives, the Agriculture Cooperatives Development Agency announced.

Developing cooperatives in Georgia was the main strategic direction of the Ministry and it was included in the Ministry’s new strategy for 2015-2020.