At the initiative of the EaP CSF GNP Working Group 2 the Georgian National Platform held a meeting with Juan Echanove, Agriculture and Rural Development Attaché of European Union Delegation to Georgia, which took place on June 30, 2015, at the Europe House.
Chairman of the National Platform of Georgia, Lasha Tugushi during his welcoming speech, congratulated Mr. Echanove on being awarded the Order of the "Golden Fleece" for his contribution to the development of the agricultural sector in Georgia.
Juan Echanove made a presentation on EU COOPERATION ON AGRICULTURE IN GEORGIA, affecting a large number of the projects implemented by the EU for development of the Georgian agricultural sector on the basis of consideration of the interests of all major stakeholders, including the largest and most sensitive group of stakeholders - smallholder farmers.
Mr. Echanove informed the audience that the EU supports the agricultural policy of the Government (made up of six strategic directions according to Georgian Agriculture Development Strategy 2015-2020) in several areas both in terms of implementation of the concrete programmes as well as in terms of the support to institutional reforms which in the long run will lead to sustainable development of the sector.
The presenter acquainted participants on objectives/priorities and successes of the European Neighborhood Partnership Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), a five-year programme (March 2013 – March 2018) of EUR 52 million which aims to: support the capacity and efficiency of the institutions involved in the sector, and particularly the Ministry of Agriculture; improve farmers’ know-how with district-level consultations and information centers; strengthen co-operation with and amongst small farmers to increase productivity and reach economies of scale; and develop employment and living conditions in rural areas.
Besides this Mr. Echanove discussed the opportunities for civil society involvement in the process of the economic integration and convergence with the EU Policies provided by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Georgian National Platform, as a tool under the auspices and support of the European Commission.
The meeting was attended by 30 member organizations of the EaP CSF GNP and Georgian Alliance for Agriculture and Rural Development. Presentation was followed by the discussion which lasted more than two hours - an indication of the growing interest to the sector.
The meeting was moderated by Mariam Jorjadze, director of Biological Farming Association ELKANA.