ENPARD Ajara: European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development in Ajara

Summary

A blueberry farmer in the village of Buturauli, upper Ajara. May 2014. Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP
A blueberry farmer in the village of Buturauli, upper Ajara. May 2014. Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP

Under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), UNDP promotes agriculture development in the Ajara Autonomous Republic as a foundation for food security, sustainable production and rural employment. The programme focuses on the assistance to small farmers and runs in close cooperation with the Ajara Government. The first stage of the programme has been competed in June 2016. the second stage kicked off shortly after to cover the period of 2016-2018.

Background Information

A hazelnut farmer in the village of Jabnidzeebi, upper Ajara. June 2016. Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP
A hazelnut farmer in the village of Jabnidzeebi, upper Ajara. June 2016. Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP

Agriculture in Ajara remains an important yet declining sector in terms of GDP contribution, net foreign exchange earnings, and employment.

Most of Ajara is hilly or mountainous and, outside the narrow coastal plain, there is little flat land. Partly as a result of the topography, agriculture sector is dominated by citrus, other fresh fruit and vegetables, and livestock, with limited production of cereals or other field crops. Most of locally-produced citrus are exported to markets in Ukraine. Otherwise, agricultural production is mainly for local markets, which are also supplied by imports from other parts of Georgia and from Turkey. Turkish products dominate supply in the shoulder seasons and in the out-of-season market when the markets are undersupplied from local sources.

Farm sizes are small, averaging around 0.25 ha, with little evidence of land sales or rental. There is a substantial amount of state-owned farmland in Ajara which remains to be privatized.

As elsewhere in Georgia, banks are reluctant to lend to agriculture and generally will not take small land parcels as collateral.

As the autonomous republic, Ajara forms its own agricultural policy. The Regional Development Strategy for Ajara, approved in 2011, sees strong foundations for agricultural development but nonetheless recognised that these advantages are offset by small farm size, limited services to farmers, the age and condition of the fruit tree stock, and producers’ current strong orientation to local markets and hence the absence of price and quality signals that greater export orientation would provide.

UNDP has provided support to Ajara over a number of years in business development. UNDP assisted in the preparation of a local development strategy and creation of a Business Incubator in Batumi, currently a major provider of business development services in Ajara.

UNDP's support to trade development focuses mainly on agriculture and aims to facilitate access to local and international markets and promote establishment of the supply chains, including in the tourism industry. Trade-related services are provided to farmers and small and medium entrepreneurs through a Trade Promotion Centre based in the Batumi Business Incubator. Services include the assessment of marketing opportunities for agricultural products and assistance to the clients of the Agriservice Centre - Ajara's main provider of agriculture extension service for farmers, in preparing business and marketing plans and rolling out supply chains.

Within the frames of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development, UNDP has the increased opportunities to provide comprehensive support to the region's economy ensuring that economic growth extends to the rural areas leaving no one behind.

Results



An innovative greenhouse in Kobuleti. November 2014. Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP
An innovative greenhouse in Kobuleti. November 2014. Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP

ENPARD-Ajara has piloted innovative solutions for a range of rural development issues and has laid the ground for promoting agriculture and rural development reforms in the region. One of the achievements of the project is the development of the Ajara Rural Development Strategy in cooperation with the Ajara Rural Development Council. The strategy was adopted by the Ajara AR Government in May 17, 2016.

The list of the programme successes also includes:

Development of the Profit Oriented Small Farmers’ Groups

  • 77 farmer cooperatives have been established in Ajara in 2014-2016. 
  • The income of small farmers who joined in agriculture cooperation has increased by 60-100 percent.  

Extension Service and Training

  • More than 6,000 households in Ajara AR received direct extension services in agronomy, veterinary and artificial insemination.
  • Over 10,000 farmers receive regular SMS and online consultations.
  • Over 100 specialists were re-trained in extension, nursery, fruit gardening, veterinary and bee-keeping.
  • Up to 100 students re-trained in the management of agriculture chemicals and pesticides, nurseries and other.

Demo Projects in Modern Farming

  • 8,500 m2 walnut and 7,500 m2 blueberry demo plots in Keda, Shuakhevi and Khulo.
  • 60,000 grape rootstocks grafted and prepared for wine seedlings production
  • Dairy milking and separators for Kobuleti municipality farmers, egg hatching and chopping equipment purchased for demonstration.
  • 500 m2 vegetable demo greenhouse in Kobuleti.

Knowledge Products

  • Textbooks: “Vegetable Gardening”, “Fruit Gardening”, “Beekeeping”  “Veterinary”,  “Food Crop Production Rules”, “Marginal Cost and Income calculation”, “Standardization and Certification”.
  • Informational booklets and regular newsletters for farmers.
  • Twenty-five TV and 200 radio shows, 42 video podcasts about agriculture.

Strengthening the Ministry of Agriculture of Ajara (MOA)

  • Comprehensive development strategy of the Ministry of Agriculture of Ajara AR. 
  • A number of research and assessments to support agriculture and rural development in the region: Agricuture Sector Baseline, Ajara Agriculture Sector Competitiveness and Export Promotion Policy, Capacity Need Assessment; mAjara Investment Profile and Investment Promotion; 
  • Value Chain Studies for high-technological greenhouses of vegetables, berry crop and greens.
  • Study tours for public servants and Ajara govenrmwent officials to Armenia, Poland and Lithuania.
  • Training in policy analysis, policy development, programme budgeting, monitoring and evaluation

Who finaces it?

Total Budget US$ 4,324,579.55
European Union US$ 3,926,701.57
Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic US$    397,877.98

Delivery

2014 (Total) US$ 2,301,272.13
European Union US$ 1,970,194.05
Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic
US$    331,078,08
2013 (Total) US$   843,684.21
European Union US$    790,178.65
Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic US$      53,505.56
Overview
Status:
Completed
Start date:
May 2013
End date:
June 2016
Geographic coverage:
Ajara
Partners:
Ajara Agroservice Center, Batumi Business Incubator, Vocational College “Black Sea”
Budget:
US$ 4,324,579.55
Donors:
European Union; Government of the Ajara Autonomous Republic
Sustainable Development Goals
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Goal 1: No poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Find out more about SDGs
Funded by the European Union
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Project Document
Contact Information
Contact Person

Lasha Komakhidze
Project Manager
lasha.komakhidze@undp.org

Address

71 Melikishvili Street
Batumi, Georgia

Contact Person in UNDP

George Nanobashvili
Economic Development Team Leader
george.nanobashvili@undp.org