Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.