Georgia: Sustainable Livelihoods and Environment
The dismal economic situation in Georgia, caused by several conflicts that have plagued the country in the last 20 years, has its most profound impact on the countryside, which suffers from a high unemployment rate, in some regions up to 80 %. Because of the lack of other job opportunities, the livelihood of most villagers relies on farming with the use of obsolete technology, fragmented into small family businesses unwilling to engage in mutual cooperation because of their bad experience with Soviet collectivization.
Apart from farming, small business is another underdeveloped sector. This is mainly due to the inadequate expertise of local small business owners and insufficient skills which are needed for effective planning and development of their businesses. In addition, the development of business is certainly not helped by the credit policy of most Georgian banks.
Sustainable Development of Beekeeping in Georgia
People in Need will provide trainings to small-holder beekeepers as well as a modified manual, grants for equipment and establish a regional beekeeping education centre in Tbilisi.
The Czech Development Agency will also work directly with the Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture to introduce seven new methods for monitoring the quality of products. The laboratory will receive new equipment in order to be able to apply these quality measures and conduct better analysis of bee-products. Staff at the laboratory will also be trained on how to use the new equipment.
Introducing EU Phytosanitary Standards to Georgia
Strengthening Rural Development Models in Georgia
Support for micro-sized enterprises and small farmers’ cooperation
Those who succeed in open competition are then provided with grants to purchase the equipment needed to start their business. The grant conditions include the obligation of each business owner and farmer to re-invest part of the grant value back in their village. This investment can be used for example on repair of a local healthcare centre or kindergarten. , In this way, over the past nine years People in Need has supported the establishment of over 200 micro-sized businesses in three regions of western Georgia as well as in the capital, Tbilisi. In addition, more than 100 community projects have been implemented.
Since 2009, People in Need has mainly supported cooperation between farmers and agribusinesses. The organization's experience shows that cooperation is essential for the development of agriculture as an economic sector. Since 2010, these efforts have resulted in the establishment of eleven cooperatives that bring together dozens of small farmers.
In 2013, People in Need launched project activities aimed at poverty reduction in rural areas of Georgia. In this scheme, People in Need provides support to business-oriented small farmers’ and rural entrepreneurs in Imereti and Racha regions with the aim to increase their productivity and income through membership in business coalitions – cooperatives and associations which provides an alternative to the prevailing practice of individual independent farming on fragmented fields with limited cooperation between particular enterprises. Membership in cooperatives and associations enables the reduction of operational costs, increases efficiency, improves quality of production and thus to make core markets more accessible. This is supported by project activities that include intensive organizational capacity building, technical sub-granting and ongoing field support. Development of enterprises and cooperatives is ensured through tailored trainings complemented by on-farm demonstrations of modern farming techniques and grant system. Agricultural enterprises are also being empowered to influence agricultural policy making processes at local, regional and national levels.
People in Need supports the setting-up of businesses that employ people from disadvantaged groups, such as refugees, women and young people from large families. Since 2012, the organization has taken part in the development of social entrepreneurship, which offers job opportunities to disadvantaged groups. By the end of 2014, four social enterprises employing socially disadvantaged youth were supported.