Private Sector-led Agricultural Extension in Georgia
Tuesday, 09 February, 2016

On February 8, 2016, ISET hosted a workshop on Private Sector-led Agricultural Extension in Georgia. Organized by ISET in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, this workshop brought together chief executives of selected Georgian agribusinesses as well as representatives of the donor community, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Education and Science to discuss the possibilities for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for developing effective agricultural extension services in the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture seeks to improve linkages between smallholder farmers and the private sector (food producers, retail networks, etc.). Both private companies and farmers would benefit from these linkages. During the meeting, representatives of the private sector shared their experience in providing extension services to local farmers. Different models of contract farming were tried out by agribusinesses. Yet in most cases, such collaborations were not very successful. Lack of knowledge and information was highlighted as the main problems hindering the development of good cooperation with smallholders.

“Agricultural extension is considered as a necessary component of developing the agricultural sector in Georgia. It is very important to involve big businesses in this process, and this would be profitable for both sides – farmers and agribusinesses”, – said Mr. Davit Galegashvili, Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Everyone agreed that this informal meeting was very productive and provided input into further discussions on agricultural extension models in which the private sector has to play a significant role.