Rati Kochlamazashvili Moderated the Georgian Farmers Congress on DCFTA
Friday, 15 June, 2018

On June 15, 2018, the Farmers’ Congress took place at hotel Betsy’s in Tbilisi. The congress discussed the opportunities and challenges of the EU-Georgia Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), focusing on small and medium-size farmers and agricultural cooperatives. The discussion was moderated by ISET’s Rati Kochlamazashvili, while Pati Mamardashvili (of ISET-PI’s Agricultural Research Center) served on a panel discussing the current challenges that agricultural enterprises are facing over the course of the DCFTA’s implementation.

The event was organized by ‘Bridge – Innovation and Development (BRIDGE)’ and ‘International Organization People in Need (PIN)’ within the framework of the EU-funded ‘Civil Society Organizations Supporting Free Trade with European Union’ program.

The main goal of the congress was to support dialogue between farmers and other stakeholders involved in the DCFTA implementation in the food and agriculture sector (including state bodies, donors, CSOs, experts, etc.). The participants discussed issues and opportunities for the food and agriculture sectors in terms of DCFTA, value chain analysis regarding DCFTA, and DCFTA resource desks in the regions of Georgia.

Up to 50 farmers throughout Georgia had the opportunity to meet with government representatives and other stakeholders, including donors, CSOs, experts, and agro-journalists, among others.

“The DCFTA sets model rules in terms of food safety, therefore, it is first of all in our consumers’ interest to comply and take care of our health. It is a huge opportunity for farmers and agro-businesses (including cooperatives) to export their products with a tariff-free regime,” Rati Kochlamazashvili said while opening the discussion.

Pati Mamardashvili noted that all the mentioned challenges of small and medium-size farmers and agricultural cooperatives are not specific to the DCFTA’s implementation. Rather, they reflect the very low level of the development of Georgian agriculture, whether with regards to production, value addition, or the marketing of agricultural products. Current adjustment costs should be considered as long-term investments in the modernization of Georgian agriculture and the development of efficient food systems in the country. In the end, Pati also emphasized the role of the private sector in dealing with sector challenges and reported on ISET’s ongoing project supporting this component.