EU offers €55 million COVID-19 support package to Georgia for development of agriculture, rural areas
The EU Ambassador to Georgia, Carl Hartzell and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, David Zalkaliani signed an agreement to kick off the fourth phase of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD IV), worth €55 million (about 125 million GEL), Trend reports citing Agenda.ge.
The programme aims to enhance consumer protection, promote EU exports and improve livelihoods of rural population in Georgia.
It is a part of a wider assistance package given by the EU and Team Europe to support Georgia’s COVID-19 recovery.
"Since 2013, with over 500 million GEL budget, the EU’s ENPARD programme has been providing extensive support to make Georgia’s agriculture more competitive and to improve living standards in rural areas. Looking forward, we would like to see more Georgian farmers, cooperatives and small and medium size enterprises better equipped to produce high quality products and export to the EU. We also support better infrastructure and services, growth of tourism, more effective local public-private partnerships and entrepreneurship in rural areas”, stated Carl Hartzell.
"This is a remarkable volume of assistance, €55 million, of which €31 million is going to be direct budget support. However, a very important and efficient part of the assistance is a €24 million technical and grant component, which is going to have a complementary effect on the implementation of our policy also developed in close partnership with the EU,” stated Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili.
ENPARD IV will provide extended assistance in the food safety, sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) sector to enhance consumer protection and to promote exports of Georgian products to EU member states. The programme will provide further support for the National Food Agency (NFA) for improved inspection and control systems and for continuation of the legal approximation process including enforcement of newly adopted regulations.
ENPARD IV will also improve the economic and social integration of vulnerable households in disadvantaged rural regions of Georgia, including eco-migrants, conflict-affected people, ethnic minorities, Georgian returnees and migrants.
Implemented in 2013 with a total budget of €234.5 million so far, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia.