Caritas Czech Republic has been working on capacity-building and the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of farmers in Georgia for many years. In 2022, our organization implements a project that aims at increasing the income of beef farmers from Mountainous Georgia by ensuring efficient production resources and inputs, the necessary knowledge, market access, and value-added opportunities. Within the framework of the project, we have already retrained farmers and veterinarians and identified demonstration plots for introducing the practice of rotational grazing. Further, we are planning to distribute grants for purchasing necessary equipment for cattle farming.
Why we do support farmers from mountainous regions
Cattle breeding is one of the low-income industries in Georgia. Farmers from highland regions do not have sufficient income to contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of their municipalities. That is why Caritas Czech Republic decided to implement a project aimed at increasing the incomes of farmers in the municipalities of Tusheti and Pshav-Khevsureti and Khulo municipality through various activities. Namely, within the framework of the project, we are working to change the existing practices of cattle breeding and feeding, animal healthcare and pasture management by introducing more sustainable and productive ones.
The project envisages several main activities. At the initial stage, our organization in active cooperation with regional partner organizations began to identify beneficiaries and interested parties – in total, memorandums were signed with seven local agencies. In addition, we monitored private and public pastures in the target municipalities with the aim of using them as demonstration plots. In addition, training sessions were held in veterinary medicine for veterinarians and farmers.
The importance of cooperation with local agencies
Within the framework of the project, we signed a memorandum of cooperation with Akhmeta, Dusheti and Khulo city halls, the Ministry of Agriculture of Adjara, the Administrations of Aragvi and Tusheti Protected Landscapes and the Coordination Council for Strategic Development of Mountainous Regions. Notably, those memorandums made it easier to work with the project's target groups, including beneficiaries and representatives of local action groups (LAGs).
At this stage, our beneficiary base includes 162 people from three territorial units, including 115 farmers, 20 veterinarians, 8 artificial insemination specialists, 10 meat resellers/middlemen and 9 extension specialists. It should be noted that the current number of beneficiaries significantly exceeds the initial number envisaged through the project. As a result of more active communication with local people, it is possible to involve more people in this process.
Capacity-building of local farmers
One of the most valuable aspects of the project is delivering educational sessions for local farmers and veterinarians. By this time, veterinarians living in Khulo municipality have already learned about modern veterinary approaches and discussed modern standards of veterinary care and treatment.
Veterinary training for local farmers was also of high importance, covering cattle diseases, puberty management and ration formulation.
In the near future, training is planned in Alvani village of Akhmeta municipality for veterinarians from Tusheti and Pshav-Khevsureti. Online training on modern veterinary challenges will also be held in December.
Why we do use existing pastures as demonstration plots
Another important component of the initiative is the identification of suitable pastures for demonstration plots and their appropriate use. At this stage, three demonstration plots of 6 hectares each have been selected in Khulo Municipality, Pshav-Khevsureti and Tusheti which will be used by the locals from early spring to late autumn. Our goal is to further develop the mentioned pastures and use them for the right purpose for which we will purchase the appropriate equipment next year.
The project will contribute to the improvement of the socio-economic condition of farmers
In the framework of the CzechAid-funded project, our organization is working on improving local farmers’ access to the market through business development, increasing sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and improving linkages to buyers and finances. Caritas Czech Republic’s project experts hold training sessions for artificial insemination (AI) specialists, veterinarians and farmers in AI, proper vet care of animals, sustainable pasture management and production of fodder, and proper livestock feeding and nutrition practices. Moreover, we will distribute matching grants for machinery, equipment and other inputs needed for livestock production development.
The specialty of the project is the involvement of the Local Action Groups (LAGs) from the Khulo and Aragvi area in planned activities as well as the partnership with the CzechTrade to organize the incoming mission of Czech companies and assure membership of project beneficiaries in the Georgian Farmers Association.
As a result of the project, the number of beef-producing farms following sustainable and more productive cattle farming practices will increase, the selected farmers will get better access to the market and their income will increase accordingly. Moreover, Georgian farmers will have an opportunity to get acquainted with the Czech know-how of precision agriculture through B2B matching events for Czech and Georgian agro-companies.
This material was prepared in the scope of the project financed within the Official Development Assistance of the Czech Republic and implemented through the partnership between the Czech Development Agency and Caritas Czech Republic.