On September 18, 2015 a workshop on the Family Farming Development Prospects in Georgia was held by the Biological Farming Association Elkana with participation of representatives from the organizations working on agricultural issues. The workshop was organized within the framework of the programme financed by Brot fur die Welt.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) data, family farming plays a crucial role in the world’s food production – 70% of the world’s food is produced in the family farms. Therefore, 2014 was declared as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) by FAO. Special events, dedicated to the IYFF, were held in different countries throughout the world and the national committees were established to develop supportive policies for family farming.
As the percentage of family farms is quite high in Georgia, it is very important to promote family farming support in the country as well as to establish a working group comprised of organizations working on agricultural issues and ensure the high level of involvement of the farmers’ organizations.
The farmers’ problems as well as the factors hindering the development of family farms were discussed at the workshop. These issues were especially emphasized at the Farmers’ Congress of Georgia 2014, organized within the framework of the European Union financed regional project “Improving Regional Food Security through National Strategies and Small Holders Production in the South Caucasus” (being implemented by Oxfam and partnered by Elkana in Georgia).
As a result of discussion of above mentioned issues at the workshop, the need of the family farming supportive policy elaboration in Georgia and establishment of the respective national committee, representing a platform of organizations working on family farming issues, was arisen (about 50 national committees were established in different countries in 2014).
Therefore, a decision on establishment of the national committee for family farming was made by the workshop participants and all the twelve participating organizations, listed below, joined it
1. Georgian Farmers Association;
2. Samtskhe-Javakheti Farmers Association "Farezi";
3. Professional Beekeepers Association of Georgia;
4. Samtskhe-Javakheti Beekeepers House;
5. Georgian Farmers House;
6. Association “Farmer of Future”;
7. Traditional Viticulture Association of Kartli;
8. Association “Women in Business”;
9. Association European Studies for Innovative Development of Georgia (ESIDG);
10. ACF South Caucasus Mission;
11. Village Tskruti Farmers Association "Anluchi";
12. Biological Farming Association Elkana (Tbilisi and Akhaltsikhe Offices)
Workshop participants elected the administrative team members of the national committee for family farming:
- Chair – Mariam Jorjadze, Director of the Biological Farming Association Elkana
- Secretary – Rusudan Gigashvili, Chair of the Association “Farmer of Future”
- Treasurer – Tamar Naskidashvili, ACF South Caucasus Mission, Deputy Programme Manager
Priorities of the newly established national committee’s work were defined:
- Strengthening the farmers’ movements;
- Raising public awareness of the role of family farming in the sustainable production of food, preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, etc.;
- Women’s involvement;
- Reduction of the smallholder farmers’ migration;
- Protection of local markets and food sovereignty;
- Participatory surveys supporting the family farming.
The national committee for family farming will have contact with the international organizations, working on the same issues, and it will work on elaboration of the family farming supportive policy. Any organization working on the family farming issues can join the above mentioned national committee.As decided at the workshop, first meeting of the national committee for family farming will be held before the end of 2015