Shudira Papa (papa means grandfather in Georgian), 84, meets us at the entrance of his yard in the village of Ardisubani of the Tetritskaro Municipality. On the way to his house, he tells us about his project implemented with the support of the Association Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG) within the framework of the EU-funded ENPARD Programme. With his daughter – Nana and grandchildren, he presents the special equipment and accessories for beekeeping purchased within the project and shares plans for future.

The chairman of the cooperative named Stone Spring, lawyer by profession, Shudira Davitashvili has been engaged in beekeeping for more than 35 years. His Beehives with almost 100 families of bees are located several metres away from his house. He says that despite the poor honey yield resulted from recent climate change in Georgia, the demand for honey products is high therefore the field is profitable.

Before getting funded within the framework of the EU ENPARD Programme, Shudira Papa would buy beehives, their frames and professional bee suits with veils, necessary for the honey production process, from other companies. That was associated with some difficulties. Now he can produce all the mentioned equipment within his project and becomes a supplier for other companies himself:

“When RDFG announced for the participation in the first grants competition under the EU ENPARD Programme, I decided to apply immediately as I always had an eager to extend my business. At first, it was unbelievable for me that anyone would fund my idea. However, the reality turned out to be different. The training held by Agro-Technology Association (ATA) was crucial later to have the capacity to cope with the preparation of the business plan. My peptides brought the result and I became one of the winners of the project. If I have ever been satisfied with anything in my life, this project is the best one as it exceeded my expectations”.

Shudira Davitashvili explains that the advantage of his beekeeper’s equipment, beehives’ frames, and beehives themselves will be in their high-quality, affordable prices, and what is the most important – in the delivery service. Heretofore, in selling the honey products through the internet, Shudira Papa was assisted by the members of his family, so they have gained quite good experience. Thus, they suggest that it will be easy for them to cope with the selling process of the beekeeper’s equipment and beehives, as well:

“It is very important for me that this project allows me not only to engage my family members in it but give job opportunities to other local people, as well. Nana, my daughter, will work on the sewing machine, as for me – I will cope with the wood machine tools. Thus, we will need two more persons to help us. The product will be sold out through the internet and on the local level, in the Tetritskaro Municipality, too. The beehives will be delivered to the shops either in the municipality and throughout the region or outside its borders, as well”.

At the end of our conversation, he puts on a beekeeper’s jacket sewed by Nana, his daughter, and takes us to show the beehives. On the road, he shares his passion for expressing the gratitude to all the people personally who have contributed to the implementation of his project. He says that he feels excited that he has been in the center of attention not only from the RDFG and EU ENPARD Programme sides but from the Agricultural Cooperatives Development Agency and local municipality representatives, too. Besides, he is happy that he has opportunities to take part in rural development fairs very often.

As we are getting closer to a small plot of the land near the road, we can see about 50 pieces of beehives there. Shudira Papa opens one of them and explains the honey production process precisely. On the question what his dream is, he smiles and shares his plans with great enthusiasm:

“First, I want to prepare honey products for exporting outside the country. But the project I have been thinking of for a long time is related to agritourism. We want to build small cottages in our yard where we will host tourists and get them acquainted with the honey production process; how the honeycomb is filtered; and let them taste the final product. This is my lifetime dream. I hope someone will find the idea interesting and therefore, we will be able to implement it”.

Shudira Davitashvili’s project implemented under the scope of the EU ENPARD Programme by RDFG, aims to produce special equipment for honey production and sell it on the Georgian market. Within the framework of the project, the beneficiary was provided with the sewing machines and wood-working machine tools. The total cost of the project is GEL 10,545.65 out of which the beneficiary participation amounted to GEL 1,348.93.

Within the framework of the EU ENPARD Programme RDFG and the Tetritskaro Local Action Group (LAG) successfully completed two phases of the Rural Development Grant Program. Through the given initiative 65 rural development projects have been selected for funding which has raised a co-investment of around 5 million Georgian Lari (35% of which comes from beneficiary contributions). The rural development projects selected to receive support will create job opportunities for over 300 residents of the Tetritskaro Municipality, 40% of whom will be women.

The EU-funded project Rural Development for Sustainable Growth in the Tetritskaro Municipality is implemented by EU partner organisation, RDFG. The project aims to improve the quality of life in the Tetritskaro municipality through the introduction of innovative social-economic models and engagement of local private and public sectors in the decision making. RDFG is partnering with the Agro-Technology Association and the Lithuanian Local Action Groups Network to carry out the action.

Author
Nina Kopaleishvili – Communications Officer, RDFG
nkopaleishvili@rdfg.ge