Adjara is one of the most beautiful Georgian regions. At the same time, however, it is a very poor area and is one of the least developed parts of Georgia. Most people here still depend on agricultural livelihoods. We are supporting locals in their businesses and create jobs for them so that they do not have to leave their home region. Thanks to our help, already 150 new jobs have been created.
We have been helping in Adjara, specifically in the Khulo mountain region, since 2017 thanks to the financial support from the European ENPARD program and from the Czech Republic Development Agency.
We teach locals how to succeed in business
Adjara is located on the Black Sea coast and is a very popular tourist destination. This is mainly due to its mountainous nature, which was a frequent destination for travelers before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. But life in a mountainous area is not easy. The frequent floods and subsequent landslides that have affected the Khulo region in the past have led to many locals leaving the area.
This part of Georgia was also cut off from the rest of the country for many decades. Not only because it lies in high mountains, but also because it is located in a border area where movement was strictly limited and controlled during the Cold War. That is why the standard of living in Khulo region is much lower compared to the rest of the country.
Local people depend on agricultural livelihoods, but they often lack knowledge of business and usually don't know how to sell their products profitably or get them to market. The agriculture in rural areas is also lagging behind and needs modernization.
That is why we decided to start helping in the region. Since most locals make a living from agriculture, we teach them new knowledge so that they can keep up with the times and develop their livelihoods.
One of the farmers we have supported is Sulkhan Pasanidze. We helped Sulkhan get a grant, thanks to which he bought a modern tractor with accesories that allow him to plow, sow, mow and press the grass. He works much more productively and, in addition, has expanded his business and today offers his services to other farmers. "With a new tractor, I can plow about 60 hectares in one season and press 50 thousand bales of hay," says the farmer.
Thanks to our support, the farmers can increase their incomes. They are also learning how to run their business, how to plan properly and what to do to promote their products and services.
Local communities are involved
In rural areas, there is usually no other way to make a living other than agriculture. That’s why young people often leave for cities or go abroad to work. To prevent this, we teach locals how to start a business in other areas as well.
For example, Mzevinar Iremadze used her talent for embroidery and now, thanks to the grant we provided, has her own small business. Mzevinar is confined to a wheelchair and finding a job is difficult for her. But she is well versed in traditional embroidery techniques which are passed from generation to generation in upper Adjara. Mzevinar decided to take part in the ENPARD grant competition and after successfully passing the course, she received professional sewing machines and other equipment to open a small atelier. Today, Mzevinar teaches her neighbors to embroider and the accessories she makes are sold in souvenir shops across Georgia.
We actively involve local people in the development of rural areas. We have supported the creation of Local Action Groups (LAG) which are looking for new opportunities and suggesting ideas on how to help with sustainable development in Adjara. As a result, employment in the area increases and local families have higher incomes.
The project Promotion of Rural Development and Diversification in Khulo Municipality aims to reduce rural poverty in upper Adjara through the provision of grants to local SMEs and trainings to revitalize farm and off-farm economic activities. Thanks to financial support from the EU-funded ENPARD program and from the Czech Development Agency, Caritas Czech Republic will provide over € 1 million to local businesses. As a result, more than 73 business projects can be introduced and the region will continue to develop.