Food security project decreases Georgian population’s vulnerability

The project goal is to facilitate reduction of food insecurity among vulnerable households in the Kakheti region by improving farmers’ capacity, crop and animal production, resilience of household income, and marketing and acquisition of food.

“In households there is a lack of knowledge of new technologies and methodologies that results in a small harvest. The FSEI promotes activities that enhance sustainable agriculture,” said Vano Grigolashvili, food security and emergency response programme manager.

Farmers will learn about modern technologies that increase productivity, improve product quality, reduce post-harvest losses, and increase sales and income. The project will also make use of farmer schools that will play a key role in supporting local farmers in agricultural development, and farmer-to-farmer training. The project will target 1,000 most vulnerable farmers directly and about 7,000 households indirectly. Indirect beneficiaries are identified as households that benefit from farmer-to-farmer training.

FSEI will promote on-farm processing to reduce post-harvest losses and to ensure farmers earn more profit by selling processed products as opposed to fresh farm produce. It will also improve rural farmers’ access to competitive markets.

Agriculture plays a key role in the Georgian economy, providing jobs and income to 55 percent of the country’s population and accounting for at least 35 percent of total export revenues. However, Georgia is presently only utilising a small percentage of its agricultural potential due to post-harvest handling, poor packing infrastructure, a lack of modern production technologies and, perhaps most significantly, a lack of information about markets and market prices, making production and trade decisions difficult and risky.

The main problem identified in the Kakheti region is low crop and animal productivity with households purchasing over 60 percent of their food requirements, according to the Household Vulnerability Assessment conducted by World Food Programme Georgia (October 2005).