ISET

In December 2015 the State Commission on Migration Issues (SCMI) adopted a Medium Migration Profile (MMP). The MMP was elaborated with the active participation of all its member state agencies and the support of a project funded
by the European Union (EU), ´Enhancing Migration Management in Georgia (ENIGMMA), implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). The goal of the MMP is to foster evidence-based policymaking
in the country and it covers all major aspects of migratory processes as well as its impact on Georgia’s demography, economy and social cohesion. Since its elaboration, the MMP has proved a valuable source of migration-related data and analysis both for local and international institutions and researchers.

The UNDP Farmer Knowledge Project was carried out in two phases. Data on Georgian rural households1 was collected by the polling agency Analysis and Consulting Team (ACT) between February and July 2015. 2 This data was analyzed with the purpose of producing policy recommendations by the ISET Policy Institute between November 2015 and July 2016.

The project pursued three overarching goals: (i) to understand which gaps in agricultural knowledge of Georgian farmers have the strongest impact on farmers’ productivity and income, and recommend relevant agricultural extension measures; (ii) to predict structural and social changes in Georgia’s agriculture under different scenarios; (iii) to suggest appropriate policy interventions to mitigate or encourage these changes.

Once the wealthiest Soviet republic, Georgia has since fallen far behind other post-Soviet states (except for, perhaps, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova) in almost any parameter of wellbeing. Adjusted for purchasing power parity, Georgia’s annual income per capita in 2012 was close to $5,900 (a little higher than in resources-poor Armenia). Moreover, the “median” Georgian, as opposed to the “average” Georgian, is much poorer than is suggested by the per capita income estimate. Like any average measure, the income per capita figure masks significant inequality in the distribution of income, and Georgia is much less equal as compared to all of its other post-Soviet peers (with the possible exception of Russia).

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Georgian nation went through a process of rapid disinvestment and de-industrialization. It was forced to shut down industrial plants, sending scrap metal abroad and pushing workers into subsistence farming or early retirement. Thanks to the country’s moderate climate and good soil conditions, hunger never became an issue, yet inequality and associated political pressures rapidly reached catastrophic dimensions, unleashing cycles of violence, undermining the political order and inhibiting prospects of economic growth.

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