EU Supported Interagency Forum on Access to Finance for Cooperatives Was Held in Tbilisi
Tuesday, 29 November, 2016

On 29 November 2016, in the framework of the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), an Interagency Forum on “Access to Finance for Cooperatives” took place at the Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi. The purpose of the forum was to discuss challenges and opportunities that cooperatives face with regard to access to finance.

Among the speakers of the forum were ENPARD’s key stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, the French Development Agency, the Agricultural Cooperatives Development Agency, the Georgian Farmers Association, agricultural cooperatives, financial institutions, leasing companies, business and finance consulting groups, the ENPARD implementer consortia, and research centres.

One of the key speakers of the forum Cristina Casella, Attaché, Programme Manager at the European Union Delegation to Georgia stated that “The forum was very interesting as there were a lot of meaningful content-based discussions from all the stakeholders, including current situation and future prospects for cooperatives regarding the access to finance, and I can say as a conclusion that the increase of accessibility of finance for cooperatives is one of the main issues we all need to consider in order to these cooperatives can become competitive.”

According to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, David Galegashvili: “The last three years in cooperative development (inception phase) could be considered as successful, but it is just a beginning and cooperatives need support to reach the sustainability in the long-run”.

Silvia Sanjuan Munoz, Project Director at CARE International in the Caucasus noted the importance of gathering all the stakeholders to discuss one of the crucial issues for cooperatives. Ms Sanjuan underlined the importance of accessibility of finance for cooperatives and expressed that this forum and topic are part of the advocacy actions undertaken by the ENPARD consortia.

Irakli Kochlamazashvili, the Field Coordinator at ISET-PI, stated that the ENPARD-supported cooperatives had indicated in the surveys the access to finance/credit being the number one constraint for their business development, so finding the best ways to solve this problem, would make a life of new-born cooperatives much easier. This was discussed during the forum by various relevant stakeholders and some possible ways how to increase the creditability of cooperatives were identified.

The forum discussion will be summarized in the forum communique which will be developed in the coming weeks.

This discussion was the fourth in a series of dialogues about agriculture and rural development organized by CARE consortium within the partnership with ISET Policy Institute, the Regional Development Association (RDA), and the Georgian Farmers Association (GFA), and counting on this occasion on Mercy Corps, Oxfam and People In Need consortia’s cooperation.

This Interagency Forum was organized with the assistance of the European Union’s ENPARD programme. The programme is being implemented since 2013, the main goal of which is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia through support to rural and agriculture development.

This forum was financially supported by the European Union and the Austrian Development Cooperation. The contents are the sole responsibility of organizers, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union and the Austrian Development Cooperation