During his speech at a conference dedicated to ten years of Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture’s (CNFA) work in Georgia, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, talked about the projects undertaken in terms of the organisation’s activities. According to the Prime Minister, after the start of the war between Georgia and Russia in 2008, CNFA provided valuable help to Georgia through USAID. “In addition, in order to facilitate caring for fruit orchards, CNFA, together with Cartu Bank, implemented an electronic voucher card system. These cards were then given to more than 17,000 farmers who used them to buy plant care products worth more than USD 5.8 million. In total, CNFA facilitated the implementation of eight programmes in Georgia. Through USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Government of the United States of America helped agricultural factories in more than 430 Georgian villages, creating over 3,500 jobs and improving the qualifications of more than 140,000 people. As a result, the sales of the factories funded by CNFA exceeded USD 51 million.”FactCheck
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The development of the field of agriculture in Georgia faces numerous challenges. The main challenge for the field is the lack of modern technologies and qualified personnel which results in low productivity and locally produced goods unable to compete with imports.
The support of international organisations and sharing worldwide experiences are very important for Georgia’s agricultural development. Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) is an international organisation which was founded in 1985. It has implemented projects in over 43 countries worldwide, aiming to facilitate the development of agricultural sectors and increase their productivity and competitiveness. CNFA has been operating in Georgia since 2006 and has so far implemented eight projects.
- The Access to Mechanisation Project (AMP) in the field of agriculture was implemented from 2009 to 2012 and aimed to make necessary equipment available to small and middle-range farmers. In terms of the project, regional mechanisation centres were opened and trainings were organised. About 2,245 farmers benefited from the project with 21 mechanisation service centres having been opened to provide assistance to the cultivation of 29,412 hectares of agricultural land. A total of 194 new jobs were created in terms of the project.
- The Agro-Business Development Activity (ADA) is a four-year project which aimed to attract investments in the field of agriculture, familiarise local farmers with new technologies and improve the quality of their products as well as their competitiveness. This USD 20 million project was funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation. A total of 283 grants were given as a part of the project with the overall amount of these grants having reached USD 16.25 million. An additional USD 22 million was attracted from the private sector. A total of 2,613 jobs were created as a part of the activities of this project.
- The Economic Prosperity Initiative (EPI) aimed at improving the competitiveness of certain agricultural fields (the production of hazelnuts, tangerines and greenhouses) and creating a strong value chain among these fields. A total of 46 farmers unions were created in terms of the programme with 8,594 farmers seeing their qualifications improved with the productivity in the fields having increased by 25%-30%. In addition, due to the growth of product sales, an additional profit of USD 17 million was generated.
- Farmer to Farmer (F2F) was a five-year project implemented from 2008 to 2013. Owing to this project, the volume of the sales of its beneficiaries increased by USD 13.4 million and an additional 3,720 jobs were created.
- The Georgian Agricultural Risk Reduction Programme (GARRP) helped local farmers as well as those affected by the war of August 2008 to conduct their spring agricultural work and develop gardening. Vouchers, designed for acquiring fertilisers, seeds and equipment, were distributed as a part of the programme’s activities. A total of 10,000 farmers received vouchers, including 2,300 internally displaced persons (IDPs). About 17,100 farmers received electronic vouchers and used them to buy ploughing equipment with an overall value of USD 5.8 million. About 32,000 farmers received vouchers in order to plant corn on 2,350 hectares of land. Overall, more than 95,000 farmers benefited from the programme.
- The Georgia Hazelnut Improvement Project (G-HIP) is a five-year project which aimed to improve hazelnut producing technologies and improve competitiveness on export markets.
- The Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production Project (REAP) aimed to facilitate the growth of employment and income in Georgia’s regions by attracting investments and providing technical assistance to farmers.
- The Rural Economic Development in Georgia’s Southern Regions project (RED) covers the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions and aims to improve productivity and employment in the field of agriculture. The project’s budget is set at USD 11.5 million.
During the ten years of its work in Georgia, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) has implemented a total of eight projects in the agricultural sector. Four of these eight projects are still in progress at the moment. As a result of these projects, by introducing new technologies and sharing experiences in certain fields of agriculture, agricultural productivity has increased with about 6,528 new jobs having been created and the volume of sales vis-à-vis beneficiaries having increased by USD 51.8 million.Hence, Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s statement is TRUE.