Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production
The USAID/Georgia Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) project (2013-2018) was an enterprise development program that increased income and employment in rural areas by delivering firm-level investment and tailored technical assistance to Georgian agribusinesses. Since October 2013, REAP increased private investment and commercial finance in the agriculture sector by $37.5 million, mitigated risks for rural agribusinesses, upgraded farmers’ agricultural and technical skills, and expanded commercially sustainable linkages between service providers, producers, and processors.
- SME Development in the Agriculture Sector: By utilizing its $6 million grant fund, REAP has partnered with 70 agribusinesses to launch 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), created over 2,000 new rural jobs, provided over $18 million in new cash markets, trained over 200,000 smallholders, and generated new gross sales of over $182 million.
- Technical Assistance Program: To ensure the sustainability of REAP investments and bolster the capacity of Georgia’s agriculture sector, the project worked closely with its partners to deliver demand-driven, customized technical assistance in collaboration with the private sector to improve competitiveness, increase sales, and foster professional development. REAP also supported non-grantees — enterprises that did not 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 to increase access to funding.
- Gender: REAP ensured inclusive enterprise development and involved men, women, and youth in its activities. All C1 grant applicants were 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 stimulated affordable financing by working with both financial institutions and agribusinesses, providing technical assistance to improve supply and demand. Through business plans, agriculture lending strategies, and training for loan officers, REAP increased the volume of lending to the agriculture sector.
- Workforce Development: REAP had a robust internship program that allowed over 120 students to work in fields that support REAP’s implementation, including administration and finance, monitoring and evaluation, environment, access to finance, and technical assistance. REAP also offered 11 research grants for students committed to addressing constraints faced in Georgia’s agriculture sector, including an additional nine who focused on Brown Marmorated Stinkbug (BMSB) research.
- Environment: All grant applicants were visited by REAP’s Environmental Specialist and provided with environmental review checklists and guidance on environmental compliance.