Sustainable Agriculture and Food Safety

Developing market-oriented, high-quality agriculture that is based on a competitive market principle has been contributing to the production of better goods in recent years and ensured improved delivery of farm products, services, and technologies. RDFG promotes progressive steps for developing modern service networks, one that is fully oriented on the needs of smallholder farmers, local wholesalers, and regional product distributors. We initiate and implement sustainable agricultural and food safety programs, investing in startups, and existing MSMEs expansion.

At RDFG we are fully committed to developing sustainable agriculture and food safety with innovative methodologies and modern technologies. We support local communities to increase their incomes and enhance their self-resilience. We are introducing rural smallholder farmers to digital agricultural platforms, promote green-house farming, climate-smart agriculture, and foster producing of high-quality nutritious food that can be exported to the foreign market.

Inclusive Agricultural Market Systems and Value Chains Development
For creating an inclusive market system, RDFG supports agricultural businesses capabilities and ensures that the production meets the high-quality standards and that the service is fully market oriented. RDFG fosters mutually beneficial relationships between all value chain actors – we train the rural farmers, give them new skills and knowledge to ensure the quality of the products and later, the high-grade handling of produced goods.
 
As Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) achieves food security, low-emissions development and increased resilience, RDFG promotes CSA approach in rural communities, emphasizing that the production of bio goods is vital for reducing the harm from climate change and ensuring the provision of healthy food.
Support for Livestock and Dairy Production Development
In Georgia, most milk is produced by small-scale producers with local or indigenous cattle breeds. This kind of source of income is very popular in Georgia’s rural areas but the sector needs to be supported financially and adapted to modern practices.
 
RDFG fosters smallholder farmers to produce milk, “matsoni”, “do”, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, and other types of dairy products, to sell them not only on the local market but provide huge factories with their products. Market demand reflects to the development of this field a lot, thus, RDFG encourages dairy factories to produce high quality, safe milk products that meet the food safety standards and can be easily sold out at an appropriate price.
 
In our approach, we are trying to completely replace imported milk needed for milk processing enterprises with the Georgian one along with adjusting the unique Georgian dairy products to the standards and requirements of the foreign market and enable their export to the EU countries.
Promoting Smart Village Concept
RDFG is a pioneer non-governmental organization in Georgia that started working for the promotion and development of smart villages in our country. Smart Villages is a new concept of rural development, these are the rural communities using modern and innovative methodologies in farming to improve their resilience. Farmers involved in smart village development, use digital technologies, and rely on a participatory approach to improve their income and become financially independent. Smart villagers offer rural services through digital and social innovation. By using innovative approaches, as a result, smart villages create more vibrant, sustainable, and attractive rural areas.
 
The Smart Village concept is also relevant for a wide range of EU and national policies for sustainable mobility, renewable energy, the bio and circular economy, social innovation, and others.

Establishment of Demonstration Plots
Rural areas across Georgia have been undergoing a rapid change recently, smallholder farmers have been introduced to innovative methodologies and got access to more educational opportunities.
 
RDFG supports rural farming and establishes demonstration plots that can be used to teach, experiment, and share ideas about agriculture. On these pieces of land, our agricultural experts share theoretical and practical knowledge with rural farmers and teach them how to choose a variety, when and how to plant, how to irrigate, and how to harvest. We also use farmer to farmer approach – provision of training by farmers to farmers when experienced ones are sharing their practical knowledge and skills to other farmers.
 
RDFG’s demonstration plots are scattered in the rural areas of Georgia where lots of farmers live and work near each other. Besides, we organize study visits and exchange tours to the EU countries where Georgian small business holders can be introduced to well-practiced innovative methodologies in agriculture.

Fostering Young Farmers Centers (YFCs) model
YFCs are supported by the RDFG Farmer Field School expert staff and serve to equip students with knowledge on modern agricultural methodologies and allows them to apply these skills at demonstration plots established on their schools’ land. This aims to enable youth to recognize rural agriculture as a viable livelihood option and contribute to the reduction of labor migration of youth to the cities, where they should take on any available jobs, often to the detriment of their health and safety.
 
YFC teaches advocacy, civic participation, leadership skills and agricultural innovation, so youth can revitalize their communities’ civic and economic future.
Agri Portals/Digital Platforms Development
Electronic commerce platforms are comprehensive software tools that allow entrepreneurs to sell their products or services online. Georgia is a developing country and rural communities are not well-acknowledged with modern digital opportunities. Hence, RDFG raises awareness about the importance of digitalization of services among local communities, provides relevant educational programs, and assists its beneficiaries in the development of e-commerce platforms.
 
Agricultural portals and platforms are nothing but the logical next step in our years of progress in the modernization of rural agriculture. www.kalo.ge, www.georgiantravelguide.ge, and www.ravachuko.ge – this is only a shortlist of the RDFG-supported e-platforms that convey well the importance of our initiatives and interventions for the distribution of rural products and services throughout the whole country.
Supporting with Agri Machinery, Production Equipment and Farm Structures

Farm power and productivity are co-related because to produce more per unit land the use of machinery and equipment is inevitable. The utilization of agriculture machineries, production equipment, and tools assist in obtaining high crop yield in relatively less time and with minimum efforts. Farmers in Georgia are not pampered with modern agricultural machineries, production equipment, and tools, thus, they fall behind from their western colleagues because of their speed of work and quality of products.
 
RDFG considers that the development of sustainable agriculture is fully dependent on modern technologies and innovative approaches, thus, provides agricultural types of machinery and other equipment/tools for high-quality, efficient, and fast production. The mentioned saves the energy and time of human resources and is reflected in good quality of goods.
 
Within the grants competitions, our beneficiaries receive modern arable plows, vertical rototillers, cultivators, lawn-mowers, hay collectors, field treatment apparatus, fruit treatment apparatus, fertilizers, importer sowing machines, corn and bean sowing machines, potato sowing, potato extractor, and land sowing machines. As a result, they provide better agricultural services, that saves time and ensures the sustainability of farming.
Promotion of Green-House Farming

The geographical location of Georgia and the diversity of nature are reflected in the drastic changes in weather during different seasons. The land of our country is diverse – from the subtropics to the Caucasus glaciers. Hence, the promotion of green-house farming is crucial to have crops at a time of year when they cannot be grown outdoors.
 
RDFG has tangible experience in the establishment of green-houses. We have been working with smallholder farmers for years and convincing them that the cultivation in greenhouses allows them to produce at any time of the year and to sell higher quality products at higher prices. With the RDFG support, tens of farmers produce various kinds of berries, vegetables, and even succulents in Georgia.

Food Safety and Hygiene

Nowadays with the help of internet information about the importance of food safety is easily accessible for every farmer. Food safety means the proper practice of preparing and storing food to avoid foodborne illness. It is crucial to adhere to the very strict and regulated inspection system and standards, thus respond to the consumers’ needs properly.
 
With the financial support of donor organizations, RDFG introduces farmers to the modern standards for food safety, including using safe and raw materials, adherence to the hygiene and safety measures in the process of production, storing food on the proper temperature and in the appropriate packaging. It is crucial to emphasize the importance of the prevention of contaminating food with pathogens spreading from people, pets, and pests.
 
RDFG organizes local as well as international exchange visits and study tours to the EU countries, where the safety and hygiene standards have been set decades ago and smallholder farmers can exchange their practice and experience. Each RDFG beneficiary’s project is monitored occasionally – we assess and give further instructions and recommendations, for ensuring food hygiene in rural areas.