EU representatives visited rural development project in Tetritskaro municipality

13th of March, Tetritskaro – The EU mission from Brussels led by Susana Marazuela Azpiroz, DG AGRI Head of Unit A5 – Neighborhood and Enlargement visited EU-supported rural development project in Tetritskaro municipality in Georgia and attended the presentation of Local Development Strategy by Tetritskaro Local Action Group (LAG).

The event was attended by the First Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture, Nodar Kereselidze, who introduced the rural development policy process at the national level in Georgia. With EU support, the Government of Georgia approved and is now implementing the national strategy for rural development. It provides the country’s vision for 2017-2020 in key areas of rural development – growth and diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, sustainable use of natural resources and local engagement in the development process. The Strategy represents a new approach to rural development in Georgia grounded on the best EU practices in this field. It focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and civil engagement, and on improving the quality of people’s life while paying special attention to the values of natural and cultural heritage.

At the event, the EU mission was introduced to the EU-funded local development project in Tetritskaro, Local Development Strategy and activities of the LAG. Tertitskaro LAG is a multi-sectoral cooperation platform that brings together civil, private and public sector to stimulate the local development through balanced, participative and inclusive local development strategy. The LAG, with a membership of 107 Tetritskaro inhabitants, combines all 20 communities, including national and religious minorities as well as IDPs and eco-migrants residing in the Tetritskaro municipality, out of which 40% are women and around 30% are youth.

Vano Grigolashvili, the chairman of RDFG emphasized the achievements of the project: “It’s been a year, since RDFG implements the rural development project in Tetritskato municipality with EU support. Throughout this year Tetritskaro LAG has been established and Tetritskaro Local Development Strategy was elaborated. We will continue working for better future in Tetritskaro according to this strategy. I’m happy that our colleagues from EU had an opportunity to learn about the project progress and meet the local community and people who are involved in our initiatives.”

The guests were also introduced to the project’s complementary programmes. The EU-supported Employment Shuttle, run by partner organisation RDFG, is a conceptually innovative model which aims to facilitate employment opportunities of the people under the risk of social exclusion. The programme promotes social and labour inclusion of unemployed populations in Georgia, guides their career and promotes the acquirement and development of necessary skills to foster their employability. The programme has been especially successful in fostering entrepreneurship and employment for youth and women. At the evenet, the Employment Program beneficiary shared her success story.

In the end of the programme, guests visited the EU-supported Young Farmers Center (YFC), established by RDFG, in the village Samghereti. The center brings together school children from rural communities to demonstrate the benefits of modern agriculture as a source of livelihood security in their local communities and an alternative to migration to urban areas. At the center, Susana Marazuela Azpiroz met with the students and delivered a lecture-seminar on the topics related to agriculture and rural development in EU.

Alongside the visit, exhibition of local production were presented by LAG members and beneficiaries to better demonstrate the economic potential of Tetritskaro municipality.

The event was attended by the representatives of the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, Governorate of Kvemo Kartli, Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, ENPARD implementing partners, local authorities and Tetritskaro LAG members.

The EU-funded project “Rural Development for Sustainable Growth of Tetritskaro Municipality” is implemented by Association Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG). The project aims to improve the quality of life in 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.

The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) is recognised as one of the most successful agriculture and rural development initiatives funded by the European Union in Georgia. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in the country. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second and the third phases focus on creating diversified economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge