The Delegation of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia pays al visit to Switzerland

Published in Economics
Monday, 29 August 2022 13:57

Under the support of the Swiss Development Agency, the Delegation of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia paid a visit to Switzerland. During the visit, the Swiss side shared its experience regarding the effective functioning of the agricultural extension system in the country.

According to the administration of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, the meetings were held at the Bern University of Applied Sciences, the Department of Agriculture, the School of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Sciences (HAFL) and the relevant services of the local cantons.

The visit was organized by the United Nations Development Programme "Modernization of the Vocational Education and Training and Extension Systems related to Agriculture in Georgia" project.

"The experience of the Swiss side was very interesting for us. we got information about agricultural knowledge and innovation systems and professional and graduate programs in the respective area at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. As we are all aware, the education system in Switzerland is at an exceptionally high level, namely, Swiss Smart Farming has both professional and undergraduate programs. In addition, there are studies, the results of which are actively implemented through the extension service.
The agricultural extension service is also gradually developing in our country; meanwhile, it is important to strengthen vocational education. The sharing experience of the Swiss side assured us once again that we are going in the right way and we should continue this process", said the Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Mr. Solomon Pavliashvili.

During the visit, the members of the delegation got acquainted with the rural development strategies that contribute to the improvement of farmers' skills and knowledge; also they got information about the rural development programs implemented by the state to provide financial support for farmers; the sides shared experience on the training and retraining programs for extension specialists, existing mechanisms for spreading knowledge among farmers and the Swiss model of Public Private Partnership (PPP), climate-smart agriculture approaches etc.

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    On 19 May 2022, H.E. Heidi Grau, Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, and Danielle Meuwly, Regional Director of Cooperation, presented a new Swiss Cooperation Programme for the South Caucasus 2022-2025. The Programme is a flagship document which defines the key priority areas of Swiss engagement for the period of 2022-2025. The event brought together the representatives of the Government, international and national partners and implementing agencies.

    Switzerland, through its Cooperation Office in the South Caucasus with the regional office in Tbilisi, will implement the regional Cooperation Programme in the course of four years, 2022-2025. The focus of the Swiss engagement will be on four key areas: 1) promoting civic engagement and cooperation in the region, 2) strengthening democracy and public institutions, 3) improving economic development and creation of decent jobs, and 4) strengthening climate resilience and sustainable resource management. Gender equality and good governance will be considered in all relevant projects.

    Switzerland is currently supporting more than 20 projects most of which kicked off within the framework of the previous Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2017-2021. At the end of 2021, as a result of Swiss-funded projects, more than 150’000 beneficiaries received additional incomes from agriculture, which amounted to about USD 34 million. Digital infrastructure was created in 63 municipalities, making digital public services available for about 1.5 million residents. Important analytical work on gender impact assessments and gender pay gap was undertaken to promote gender equality, for example.

    The new Cooperation Programme 2022-2025 will build on past achievements and continue to make an effective contribution to the country's development pathways by initiating new projects in priority areas. In Georgia, Switzerland will continue strengthening the country’s economy by providing support to the agriculture sector, focusing on rural SMEs, women’s economic development in rural areas and vocational education and training related to agriculture. Governance, including migration, and local economic development will remain key areas of Swiss intervention. The Programme will also continue to pursue better climate adaptation and natural resource management focusing on forestry. Apart from these thematic focuses, Switzerland will further engage in conflict prevention, peace promotion, and strengthen human rights. It will also finance small initiatives by local NGOs on topics such as gender equality, environment and climate change, inclusiveness and digitalization. Moreover, Switzerland will support the local Georgian art scene by financing cultural projects, as part of a regional art and culture program. The overall budget for Georgia amounts to CHF 34 million.

    Swiss engagement in the South Caucasus dates back to 1988 and has expanded ever since through strong bilateral interventions in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The regional Cooperation Office  in Tbilisi was opened in 1996. The overall Swiss investment in development cooperation in the region has so far amounted to CHF 200 million.

    Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia

     

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  • You can too! How the EU supports women entrepreneurs in Georgia

    You can too! How the EU supports women entrepreneurs in Georgia?

     

    1. 1.       I want to start my own business, but I’m not sure my idea would work. Who can advise me?

    The European Union is very active in supporting the development of new businesses, particularly among women and particularly in the regions of Georgia, often with a focus on rural and disadvantaged areas. So don’t think that you need to be in Tbilisi, to have a higher education or an established business in order to access EU support – on the contrary!

    The EU supports a number of programmes and business support facilities that provide know how, practical help, and even funding to help you start your business.

    Here are some examples:

    If you are looking for support in agriculture, the ENPARD programme provides information, training, advice and financial support all over Georgia, with hundreds of thousands of farmers benefitting since 2013. Visit the programme’s interactive map to find regional initiatives, contacts, information centres and cooperatives near you.

    The Mayors for Economic Growth programme supports local authorities in developing economic growth and job creation. Among the dozens of local authorities that have signed up in Georgia, three – Bolnisi, Gori and Tbilisi – are running pioneer projects including support for new entrepreneurs with training and business development facilities, ensuring the equal access of women to development opportunities.

     

    1. 2.       Business advice is all very well, but you need money to develop your business. How can I get funding when I have no money of my own and no business experience?

    A number of grants for agricultural projects are available under the ENPARD programme. Follow the calls section on their website to see the list of grant competitions that are available.

    While the local development projects funded under the Mayors for Economic Growth initiative do not provide grants, they will help you to access finance. For example, the SPARK business accelerator set up under the project in Tbilisi offers new businesses assistance in preparing a business plan, and puts you in contact with potential investors and sources of finance. 

    One EU-funded programme offers loans that are specifically tailored to women: Women in Business can provide finance both to start and develop a business. The programme works with local partners Bank of Georgia and TBC Bank and offers preferential terms for women entrepreneurs to finance new business ideas or expand an existing business. Several other projects under the EU4Business initiative also work with local banks to provide loans for SMEs – from micro-finance to major investment loans.

     

    1. 3.       I already have a business, but I need help to take it to the next step: is there any EU support available for me?

    If you already have a business and you are looking to develop, funding (and training) is available through a number of programmes under the EU4Business initiative, which supports private sector development across Georgia.

    Apart from providing loans, Women in Business offers training and subsidised advisory services that are specifically tailored to women-led businesses. The programme also offers a personalised online tool – the Business Lens – to assess your business and see what kind of support you can access.

    Some EU4Business programmes also offer finance for much larger businesses, but others such as the DCTA Initiative East offer microfinance loans up to €25,000. The European Fund for South East Europe (EFSE) also provides small loans (average loan size €14,300) to the smallest businesses (less than 10 employees) in sectors such as agriculture, industry, trade and services. Click here for the full list of finance programmes under EU4Business, here for projects offering training and business advice, and here for projects supporting access to markets.

    Georgian entrepreneurs also have access to the Enterprise Europe Network, which helps Georgian SMEs find business and technology partners across Europe and beyond.

     

    1. 4.       I’m not sure I want to start a business, but I want to learn new skills: is there something for me from the EU?

    Training and skills are a key priority of EU support in Georgia, and the EU provides considerable funding for Vocational Education and Training (VET). The EU recently launched a 150 million GEL programme supporting vocational education and labour market development. The 5-year programme will help 105,000 Georgians find jobs by expanding high quality vocation education, improving labour policies, and supporting entrepreneurship training.

    In terms of direct support, the individual EU4Youth programmes – Say YES: Skills for Jobs, Enhancing Youth Education, Employment and Participation in Conflict-affected Areas in Georgia and Ukraine, Fostering Potential for Greater Employability, and Better Skills for Better Future – have a strong focus on skills for under-35s, especially in less advantaged regions of Georgia, providing training, mentoring and internships to help young people find jobs.

    For young women under the age of 30, the EU offers exciting opportunities under its Erasmus + youth programmes. You can join the almost 10,000 young Georgians who have already learned new skills and developed valuable experience by participating in youth projects or volunteering for work abroad under the European Solidarity Corps.

    And if you are in higher education, Erasmus + offers student exchanges and post-graduate programmes in Europe. Find out more about all the opportunities and how to apply.

     

    1. 5.       Are there women like me, who started their own business with EU help?

    There are lots!

    Nata, Manana, Irina and Dali all received grants under the ENPARD programme. Natalia and Irina come from Tbilisi, Manana from Tsalka, and Dali from Upper Alvani. Natalia grows cucumbers, Irina tomatos, Manana runs a tea processing enterprise, and Dali combines honey production with educational courses. They have all developed their business with the help of EU training and grants.

    Irina Gloveliand Tekla Mamageishvili both received advisory support as part of the Women in Business programme. For Tekla, the project helped to plan the activities of her eye clinic more strategically and attract financial resources, while Irina received help to put her engineering company’s financial reporting in order, leading to a 7.5% rise in profits.

    Manana Chqareuliworked from home as a seamstress. With the help of loans under the EFSE programme, she was able to upgrade her equipment, lease a proper workspace and hire staff to develop her business. Now her company is on its way to becoming a brand in its own right.

    Diana Bakradze and Anna Varamashvili benefitted from skills training and internships under a project for ‘Support of vulnerable youth to become productive citizens through learning, training and employment’, an important step to an independent professional life.

    Click here for more success stories from ENPARD, here to find out what the city of Bolnisi is doing under the Mayors for Economic Growth project, and here to learn about five Georgian women who have benefited from EU support across a range of areas.

     

    1. 6.       Whom can I ask for help?

    Visit the ENPARD website to find contact information in all the different regions of Georgia, and check the programme’s interactive map to find regional initiatives, contacts, information centres and cooperatives near you.

    Look at the Mayors for Economic Growth website to see if your town is among the signatories and what it is doing to support jobs and businesses near you.

    If you already have a business and are looking to develop it, check out the training and funding opportunities available under EU4Business in Georgia.

    For education and youth opportunities, contact the national Erasmus + office in Georgia.

    And don’t forget to follow the EU Delegation to Georgia on Facebook for updates and new opportunities.

     

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    EU’s largest agriculture and rural development programme in Georgia discusses youth migration and addressing climate change

    On 10 June, stakeholders and implementing partners of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgia gathered to discuss the establishment of a network of demonstration plots and a working group on climate smart agriculture.

    The meeting aimed to share updates with the EU-supported agricultural and rural development projects on youth migration in rural areas of the country and the challenges that agriculture faces due to climate change.

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    The EU supports rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of €179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty.

  • Georgia: EU officials visit Tetritskaro municipality to evaluate results of support

    On 3 April 2019, an EU mission from Brussels led by John Clarke, Director of International Affairs at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture, visited an EU-supported rural development project in the Tetritskaro municipality of Georgia.

    Clarke met with the members of Tetritskaro Local Action Group (LAG) and the project implementing partner organisation, the Association Rural Development for Future Georgia.

    Afterwards, he visited an EU-funded cheese factory in the village of Tsintskaro. The director of the factory explained the specifics of dairy processing and shared her plans for the business’s development with the EU’s support under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). The guests had an opportunity to observe the cheese-making process and taste different varieties of cheese made at the factory.

    The EU supports rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of €179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty.

    https://www.euneighbours.eu/en/east/stay-informed/news/georgia-eu-officials-visit-tetritskaro-municipality-evaluate-results

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