Support of Traditional Agriculture in Tusheti, Georgia
Organization HUMANITARIAN AID AND DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION
Country/countries of implementation Georgia
Geographical coverage Provincial
Source Czech Development Agency
Start date Apr 2015
End date Sep 2017
Description of project:
The fertile soil along with rich vegetation and suitable climatic conditions give local agriculture in Georgia considerable potential that is currently not fully utilized.
Caritas CR is building on previous activities financed by Czech Development Agency in Ajaria and Tusheti. The Caritas CR focus will be on the development of the traditional livelihood of local farmers including cultivating local crops (mainly potatoes) and processing wool in the alpine area of Tusheti. This area belongs to the district of Achmet and region of Kakheti.
Kakheti has the most agricultural land including arable land, vineyards and orchards. Except for vine growing, local farmers focus on annual crops such as corn, wheat, barley, sunflower and potatoes. Unsuitable agricultural land includes a remote and mountainous area of Tusheti, which is accessible only through the Abano Pass, at an altitude of almost three thousand meters.
Tusheti people traditionally grow high quality potatoes and sometimes carrots, but primarily use summer and winter pastures for grazing sheep and cattle.
The main problem in this area is the fall in income from traditional agricultural production caused by reduced sales of wool and decreased potato production. Wool has low quality that is associated with the manual cutting process of the sheep’s wool and the lack of a wool cleaning device. The transport of these items to other parts of country is very expensive and difficult due to unpaved roads connecting the Tusheti valley with the lowlands.
Caritas CR, together with the Self-Governing Authority of the city of Achmet, will focus on supporting managers, accountants and engineers in two newly established agricultural cooperatives to ensureimproved production and coordinated marketing of agricultural products. Individual project activities will include strengthening wool production and growing and selling potatoes and vegetables; from buying from farmers to transport, storage, processing and marketing to the consumer.
The equipment and high-quality seeds will be provided by Caritas CR. Members of both agricultural cooperatives will receive educational support about the sale of agriculture products so they obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to increase their revenues and preserve the traditional local economy.
Under the guidance of experts, farmers can try organic farming (environmentally friendly methods of cultivating vegetables) on training plots, both in the loose soil and in plastic greenhouses. In addition there will also be a competition among the farmers about the best business plan focusing on the use of otherwise neglected agricultural opportunities in the area, which include drying forest berries, harvesting mushrooms or beekeeping.
The mountain region of Tusheti belongs under the Self-Governing Authority of the city Achmet, which is also the founder of Protected Area of Tusheti. Its administration will provide co-financing for the project and participate in some activities, such as making shelters for sheep shearing. Cooperating organizations including Caritas CR will undoubtedly contribute to the development of a remote region that otherwise should, due to the lack of resources, lose its unique character