15.May .2020 18:50

EU, FAO and MEPA launch GEL 3.2 million in grants to support Georgian farmers against COVID-19

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To bring transformative solutions to agriculture in response to the Covid-19 crisisand to build resilience of farmers that may be affected by the current state of emergency in the country, theEuropean Union (EU), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry ofEnvironmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia (MEPA) have teamed up to develop an accelerated funding mechanism for Georgian farmers. Their efforts have unlocked GEL 3.2 million in rapid funding for smallholder farmers experiencing difficulties during the pandemic. More concretely, this exceptional support will focus on co-funding modern drip irrigation kits that can be installed immediately. This new programme is the part of the EU’s broader grant initiative supporting Georgian farmers with matching production grants, the total of which amounts to more than GEL 19 million. The initiative is implemented under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural Development (ENPARD).

“Georgian Government is actively collaborating with the EU and partner organizations to supportcontinuous progress of rural and agricultural development in the country. Today, the whole world including Georgia is facing economic challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic. We work hard to prevent food crisis in the country. Our ministry, with the support from the partners and donors managed to reflect required changes in the ongoing programmes. We will support Georgian farmers to implement the projects which will ensure uninterrupted agricultural activities and increased food production in the country,“ said Khatia Tsilosani, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.

“Food security is crucial in these uncertain times. The grants launched today will help farmers in 22 municipalities to quickly establish irrigation systems necessary to increase their production, leading to increased local food supply in Georgia and increased incomes in the regions”, said Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.

Until 30 May, the Emergency Response Programme is open to all farmers who want to grow vegetables, roots, tubers and berries in Georgia under drip irrigation. The grants can be obtained by farmers in the municipalities of Lagodekhi, Kvareli, Gurjaani, Dedoplistskaro, Signagi, Tetritskaro, Marneuli, Bolnisi, Tsalka, Dmanisi, Gardabani, Akhalkalaki, Ninotsminda, Borjomi, Akhaltsikhe, Aspindza, Kazbegi, Dusheti, Keda, Khelvachauri, Khulo and Shuakhevi. The programme will provide 75% of the total investment, including installation costs for drip irrigation solutions. The grant amount for each beneficiary is limited up to $5,000 (equivalent in Georgian Lari).

“We are still on time to support the Georgian farmers during this season, and the installation of irrigation solutions will allow them to increase their production of vegetables and other crops, and to ensure that Georgian will better cope with any negative impact that may come as a result of the COVID pandemic”, said Javier Sanz Alvarez, Coordinator of FAO-EU Projects in Georgia.

The registration and application process, fully adapted to the state of national emergency, will be done online and comprehensive distant consultations for applicants will be provided. Beneficiaries of the grant competition will also be supported technical assistance provided by MEPA and FAO to help them utilize the irrigation systems in the most efficient way.

This new funding opportunity for smallholder farmers, implemented under ENPARD, is framed in the regular matching grant component implemented by FAO since 2019, that provides opportunities of co-funding capital agricultural investments. With a total budget of more than GEL 19 million, the project has already approved investments in agricultural equipment and installations such as tractors, harvesters or greenhouses, for a total value that exceeds GEL 3.2 million. Information about the Emergency Response Programme and the regular grant programme is available at WWW.FAOGRANTS.GE

The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second and third phases of ENPARD focus on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge