Georgia

Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production

Overview:

The USAID/Georgia Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) project is a five-year, $19.5 million integrated enterprise development program that increases income and employment in rural areas by delivering firm-level investment and custom tailored technical assistance to Georgian agribusinesses. Since its launch in October 2013, REAP has worked to increase private investment and commercial finance to the agriculture sector; mitigate risks for rural agribusinesses; upgrade farmers’ agricultural and technical skills; and expand commercially sustainable linkages between service providers, producers, and processors.

Program Approach:

REAP follows a strategy for partnering with its grantee enterprises early on in the life of project (years one and two), allowing a full three years for the enterprises to grow, develop, expand, and prosper organically while supported by project technical assistance. The successful allocation of the project’s $6 million grants pool along these lines has allowed for the development of closer relationships and communication channels between the project and Georgia’s agribusiness sector, and has led to the emergence of new ideas and approaches that have markedly enhanced the project’s overall profile and impact.  Examples include the introduction of minimum-tillage cultivation, engagement of Georgian students through the project’s internship program, raising the importance of demonstration plots, expansion of access to a base of qualified agronomists, and more substantive coordination with other donors and agencies.

  1. Component 1 – SME Development in the Agriculture Sector: By utilizing its $6 million grant fund and by leveraging an additional $17.3 million from the private sector, REAP has partnered with 70 agribusinesses to launch new profit centers that provide input supply, services, technical trainings, and commercial markets to smallholders. REAP’s investment portfolio, consisting primarily of Farm Service Centers (FSCs) and Machinery Service Centers (MSCs), but also postharvest handling and processing facilities, nurseries, and a soil testing laboratory, will create more than 750 new rural jobs, provide $10 million in new cash markets, train more than 135,000 smallholders, and generate new gross sales of $40 million. 
  2. Component 2 – Technical Assistance Program: To ensure the sustainability of REAP investments and to further bolster the capacity and capabilities of Georgia’s agriculture sector, the project works closely with its grantee enterprises and the broader agribusiness community to deliver demand-driven, custom technical assistance. REAP designs its technical assistance in collaboration with the private sector and augments the impact of its initial capital investments by improving competitiveness, increasing sales, and fostering professional development. In addition, REAP supports non-grantees—enterprises that did not quite meet the competitive benchmarks to receive matching grants—by providing capacity building consulting through local BSPs and International STTA on a 50-50 cost shared basis. This helps to ensure that non-grantees are able to progress towards being able to get funding to expand their business and agricultural production capabilities.  Examples of REAP technical assistance include: supply chain management, branding and labeling, international quality standards, access to finance, and improved agricultural technologies. 

CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES:

  • Gender: REAP ensures inclusive enterprise development and actively involves men, women, and youth in its activities. All C1 grant applicants are required to present a gender integration strategy as part of their proposals. REAP expects at least 15% of grantees and 25% of trainees to be women.
  • Access to Finance: REAP works to stimulate affordable financing to the sector by working with both financial institutions and agribusinesses, as well as providing technical assistance aimed at improving the supply and demand sides of the lending equation. Through developing business plans, agriculture lending strategies and direct training to loan officers, REAP is increasing the volume of lending to the agriculture sector. 
  • Workforce Development: REAP has a robust internship program that gives students from different universities the opportunity to work in various fields that support REAP’s implementation, including: administration and finance, monitoring and evaluation, environment, access to finance and technical assistance. In addition to valuable work experience, REAP offers two competitive research grants per year for students demonstrating a commitment to address constraints faced in Georgia’s agriculture sector. 
  • Environment: All grant applicants are visited by REAP’s Environmental Specialist; for each grantee, environmental review checklists are developed and guidance on environmental compliance is provided on a regular basis.  

For more information on up-to-date-impacts, please refer to the REAP Impacts section of this page or contact the REAP team at nolgesashvili@cnfa.org.

"REAP activities to me appear to be essential for Georgian agriculture, which is on its transitional path from the Soviet to the contemporary model. The highly qualified and motivated team of the organization not only successfully fulfills its programs, but also encourages new activities in Georgian agro-sector. Finally, for me, REAP is the venue and union that has broken rampant stereotypes of the past and has attracted bright and future-oriented youth to its circle. I believe this will greatly add ton significant advancement of Georgia's agriculture in the near future."

- Zviad Adzinbaia, Analyst, Newspaper Georgia Today

"My Machinery Service Center that was financed by REAP will now allow us to serve almost every farmer of the Shida Kartli region providing them with machinery services as well as agricultural inputs."

- Mr. Goga Svimonishvili, Agrokartli MSC owner

Overview:

With $176 million in exports in 2015, the hazelnut is Georgia’s highest earning agricultural export and supports the livelihoods of more than 40,000 rural families. However, the stability and profitability of the hazelnut sector, as well as the incomes of the smallholder farmers who depend upon it, are being threatened by the emergence and rapid growth of a pest known as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).

Originating in China, the BMSB is devastating the hazelnut sector by reducing the quality and quantity of hazelnut kernels. Left uncontrolled, the BMSB could set the country back years in terms of agricultural growth and development, not just in the hazelnut sector, but in other key sub-sectors as well, including those of apples, corn, grapes, peaches, and vegetables.

To address these challenges and mitigate the damages of the BMSB infestation in Georgia, the USAID Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) project has received an additional $3 million in funding to provide critical technical assistance and equipment to Georgia’s National Food Agency (NFA) between April 2017 and September 2018. By working closely with the Government of Georgia to develop a State Program with a focus on monitoring and managing the pest’s growth in parallel with educational outreach , REAP is strengthening the capacity of local institutions to limit the agricultural losses caused by the pest. In addition to this, REAP’s efforts are helping the Government of Georgia gain a better understanding of the BMSB’s biology and movement to better inform strategic decisions for the management of the infestation.

Program Approach:

To respond to the emergence of the BMSB, REAP is working closely with the NFA to reduce the pest’s population pressure and mitigate crop loss through the following activities:

  1. State Program Development Support: Working in partnership with local entomologists and a senior U.S.-based entomologist, REAP supported and participated in the design and oversight of the Government of Georgia’s action plan through its local Working Group, spearheaded by the NFA. The role of the Working Group was foundational for the BMSB response, as it was used to develop an implementation strategy, define the area to be monitored, and calculate the budget of the State Program to combat the infestation.
  2. Communications and Outreach: Because the BMSB is a pest that is new to Georgia, there is an urgent need to increase awareness and understanding amongst Georgian farmers, citizens, and extension agents about issues related to the BMSB before any monitoring and management strategies can be implemented. Therefore, REAP, in cooperation with the NFA, is developing communications materials, to educate citizens, District Task Force staff, and other public and private extension agents about the BMSB and methods for its management. Augmenting this communications and outreach effort is a Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping platform that visualizes data for the NFA and public so that the BMSB and other agricultural pests can be tracked.
  3. Training: To prepare Georgia’s Ministry of Agriculture for the monitoring and management the BMSB, REAP is delivering a multi-faceted training program on BMSB identification, trap establishment and maintenance, and the safe use and application of pesticides.
  4. Local Capacity Building: Experience in the U.S. and Europe indicates that the invasive BMSB will be present in Georgia for an extended period of time. To ensure that the Government of Georgia is better able to manage the BMSB both in the present and future, REAP is working with the Ministry of Agriculture to build the capacity of local NFA staff and entomologists in awareness, monitoring, and management by supporting and institutionalizing local research and a capacity building trip to the United States.
  5. Procurement Support: To equip the Ministry of Agriculture with the tools necessary to monitor and manage the BMSB, REAP is working with the NFA to procure the required equipment to implement the State Program, such as traps, lures, and spraying equipment.

Expected Impact

48,000+

Hectares of land under the Government of Georgia's monitoring system

14,000+

People trained on BMSB identification, monitoring, and spraying practices

117,000

Households benefiting from BMSB response