Access to Mechanization Project
Through the three-year (2009-2012), $5.1 million USAID-funded Access to Mechanization Project (AMP), CNFA used a commercially sustainable and market-oriented methodology to develop machinery service providers across Georgia. Building on CNFA’s existing nationwide presence, AMP combined matching investments, commercial finance and technical training to establish Machinery Service Centers (MSCs) and provide custom machinery services to small farmers.
- Provided Volunteer Technical Assistance: Utilized local consultants and F2F volunteers to provide technical assistance to ensure sustainable operation and long-term availability of services.
- Improved Competitive Environment for Machinery Services: AMP improved the competitive environment for machinery services by reducing the cost to farmers as a result of increased supply of machinery and service businesses.
- Improved Access to Finance: Leveraged grant funds with local partner matching investment, including large-scale involvement of commercial finance to maximize impact and investment in rural economy.
Ongoing support from CNFA Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteers was an integral part of implementing AMP. A total of 25 volunteer assignments, focused primarily on conducting various types of trainings, were completed during the project. Through F2F, AMP:
- Business Management Training Sessions: F2F volunteers conducted a wide array of trainings on business management. With the assistance of the AMP Training Coordinator, volunteers selected local trainers, finalized business and extension training topics and developed standardized training materials for dissemination.
- Financial and Credit Trainings: F2F volunteers led basic financial trainings for AMP’s farmers on credit lending, record keeping and risk assessment, which were especially useful for farmer clients looking to better understand their budgets and recognize when they could rent equipment from MSCs.
- Environment Trainings: AMP organized volunteer-led trainings focused on environmentally friendly agricultural practices for MSC owners and trainers of a local extension training provider consortium. Training was conducted on irrigation and drainage systems, pest and disease control, technologies of land cultivation and agricultural mechanization.
- Marketing and Communications Support: AMP fielded volunteers to help develop communications and marketing strategies for MSC owners, demonstrating the services they could offer. Additionally, volunteers worked with the Georgian Public Broadcaster to design the format of the Agricultural TV show “Farmer’s Day” and create a full-scale business plan to facilitate the funding of the show.