Cost-sharing support to IDP population

For several years the FAO Representation in Georgia has been successfully providing cost-sharing support to IDPs investing in their agricultural production as part of the Achieving Sustainable Livelihoods through Agricultural Cost-shared Investments project, funded by the European Union. The project mainly targets families displaced as a result of armed conflict in 2008, regardless of their living arrangements throughout Georgia. The initiative is focused on economic empowerment of the local population, increased food production and improved agricultural practices.

Within the framework of this project, FAO has developed methodology that enables the IDPs to prioritize and make investments they desire in benefit to their agricultural production. The modality is based on EU pre-accession instruments, which use government institutions to provide support for agriculture and rural development. This grant support is provided based on approved application and signed cost-sharing agreement, where the applicant is fully responsible for execution, while FAO contributes with up to 50% of the confirmed investment.

Maximum amount contributed by FAO is USD $2,500. One application/investment per year is available to the beneficiaries. Beneficiaries may apply consecutively for different investments. Support is provided for investments in the place of residence, or on land plots owned by the beneficiaries.

Types of investment that FAO supports include:

-     Perennial crops, vineyard and orchard, with the volume appropriate to the owned land by the beneficiaries;

-     Domestic animals and materials needed for animal pens;

-     Agricultural equipment and mechanisation (cultivators, land processors, equipment for seeding and harvesting, irrigation, livestock production);

-     Materials and equipment for storages and processing of agriculture products;

-     Construction materials and equipment for plastic and glass greenhouses.

Beneficiaries are required to submit ID documents, land ownership certificates, filled in applications and offers from selected potential suppliers.

In order to ensure maximum transparency of the review and award process, FAO field representatives and settlement coordinators evaluate the applications, while FAO team checks correctness of provided information, whether investment is already started or completed, if the investment value is realistic and feasible.

Report of such evaluation is created on spot and is signed by FAO monitoring team, applicant and local coordinator (if available). The applicant or his/her authorized representative are entitled to express their opinion/remarks in the report and certify it with signature. Cost of the investment, its quality and type are evaluated against local market prices and opinions of FAO experts. The evaluation report is discussed by FAO committee, as a result of which appropriate agreement is handed to the beneficiary for review and signature. Upon signing, the applicant can start implementing the investment.

The contract between FAO and the applicant, amongst other requirements, includes a timeframe for completion of the investment, with a possibility for extension. Once the applicant confirms the payment of his/her share of the investment, the FAO releases the contract amount.

To ensure compliance with contract terms and appropriate use of investment, FAO and the local representatives conduct unexpected field monitoring visits.

“This proved to be a very good methodology and works well within the Georgian context,” – says Dragan Angelovski, Chief Technical Advisor of the project. “That’s why, the FAO team is training representatives of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia (MRA), so that they are able to use this modality of IDP livelihoods support in their future work.

Since the start of the current project cycle, January 1, 2013:

-     More than 2,050 IDP households from 74 different communities have applied for assistance, including 21% women-headed households.

-     Most frequently IDPs seek assistance to invest in mechanization, livestock, vineyards and agricultural infrastructure.

-     Average agricultural investment amounts to 2,497 GEL for small investments and 7,375 GEL for self-employment.

-     The project on average participated with 51% of the cost, while IDPs covered 49% of the costs of the average investment. This means that IDPs have co-invested over 1,56 million GEL in their agricultural production, excluding investments in expendable items, turnover and labour.

-     During the current cycle of the project, the total combined investment into the IDPs agricultural assets has exceeded 3,300,000 GEL.



FAO Representation in Georgia promotes the stakeholder collaboration in Georgian agriculture sector in partnership with DWVG and in collaboration with the Government and the resource partners

20 February 2013 – Tbilisi, Georgia. German Business Association Georgia (Deutsche Wirtschaftsvereinigung Georgia - DWVG) is a long-term reliable partner for FAO Representation in Georgia – it supports FAO in leading the donor coordination process and disseminating various information and policy briefs through the local internet blogs.

On 20 February 2013 FAO-Georgia, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, EU Delegation to Georgia and the Economic Growth Office of USAID, acted as a Co-organizer and a key presenter of the 19th DWVG Forum on Georgian Agriculture: Developments and perspectives hosted by the German House in Tbilisi.

The event was attended by officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, representatives of resource partners (EC, USAID, SDC, GIZ, ADA), international and national NGOs and private sector.

Mr Mamuka Meskhi, Assistant FAO Representative in Georgia, was one of the key presenters at the Forum. In his presentation, Mr Meskhi briefly overviewed the milestones of FAO’s work in Georgia during last two decades and updated the participants about future plans of the Organization.

The event was followed by lively networking reception hosted by Georgian wine Company Schuchman.


FAO Representation in Georgia Successfully Chairs Donor Coordination Group on Agriculture

Donor coordination in the agriculture sector of Georgia started in 2009 with the support of the French Embassy and the EU Delegation. The Donor Coordination Group (DCG) was initially limited to EU member states, but has gradually expanded to include other key stakeholders.

In 2011, it became obvious that the existing coordination mechanism needed to be strengthened further. FAO, with its undeniable advantage of being at the forefront of facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration at all levels, appeared to be best suited to step up the process. As of January 2012, the FAO Representation in Georgia took over the lead role in donor coordination and became the Chair of DCG on Agriculture.

Nowadays, the FAO office provides secretarial support to an extended DCG with more than 40 members, representing key resource partners, international organizations, NGOs and the government. The DCG has become a sustainable mechanism for exchange of information, knowledge sharing and technical advice both internally and externally. It has evolved into a complex structure with six coordination sub-groups that were established to better reflect the needs in the main areas of the agriculture sector development in Georgia. The Ministry of Agriculture has being increasingly involved, acknowledging the efficiency of the mechanism.

We expect that technical knowledge and local experience accumulated through the DCG will prove to be a useful asset in the future. In fact, FAO can rely on close collaboration with all the partners, using the donor coordination mechanism to complement its technical work and support its efforts to assist Georgia in achieving the country’s development goals under the Organization’s mandate. The FAO Country Programming Framework signed in 2010, when its name was still National Medium–Term Priority Framework (NMTPF), will be reviewed in light of Government priorities and partners’ support to prioritize activities and avoid duplication of efforts.

Mamuka Meskhi, AFAOR Georgia

Source: Issue 4 June 12, Newsletter-Envoy