Farmers’ Key Challenges and Awareness of DCFTA Requirements in Georgia
On July 26, EWMI ACCESS’ grantee the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) published the results of its survey conducted among the primary producers of agricultural products and small-scale processing companies in Georgia’s regions, looking at their key challenges and awareness of the EU-Georgia Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) requirements and benefits. EPRC surveyed 500 farmers from the following five regions: Kvemo Kartli, Shida Kartli, Kakheti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, and Guria, using the semi-structured interview method.
The survey revealed that:
- Over 70% of the surveyed farmers had no information about the preferential export regimes available or soon to be available to the Georgian farmers;
- The majority of those who did have some information about these systems received the information from local and international Civil Society Organizations (CSOs);
- Nearly 50% of the surveyed farmers had no information about the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and DCFTA requirements and/or benefits, even though they will have to comply with these requirements from 2020 whether or not they plan to export their products to the EU market;
- Over 30% of livestock farmers did not use any veterinary services, thus increasing the risk of contagious diseases. Also, despite of it being the legal requirement, many did not use certified slaughter houses;
- More than 50% of farmers did not keep any records of the chemicals used to protect plants;
- Only 3 out of the surveyed 500 farmers exported their products outside Georgia. The exported products were wine and tea;
- Key challenges named by the farmers were limited access to financial resources and inadequate infrastructure, including land (the vast majority of the Georgian farmers own up to 0.5-1 hectare of land).
This survey was the first stage of ERPC’s EWMI ACCESS-funded project aimed at increasing competitiveness of Georgia’s agricultural sector through harmonizing local agricultural practices with the EU standards and assisting the Georgian farmers to export their goods to the EU market. As a follow-up to the survey, EPRC will work closely with the Georgian Farmers Association bringing together 2,000 farmers and the Georgian government to set up and run farmers’ consultation centers in the target regions and launch a comprehensive information campaign to inform farmers about the new regulations in the sector. EPRC’s information campaign will reach over 2,500 farmers through community meetings, TV programs, information brochures, and tailored consultations.
The detailed survey results is available here: Small-scale-Farmers-Needs-and-Awareness