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Absence of Qualified Workforce in Villages – Reasons and Solutions

Villages lack for qualified workforce. This problem remains under discussion for a long period. Ministry of Agriculture also proves that this problem genuinely exists in villages.

«Today villages lack for engineers, agronomists,  mechanizers and many other specialists», Deputy Agriculture Minister Giorgi Khanishvili said. Today, it is difficult to find due specialists in villages, he added.

«We have two huge criteria in agriculture sector – negative trade balance and the Georgian business should work in this direction and Georgian agriculture sector should boost production. The second one: – There is a great number of unemployed citizens in Tbilisi. Job-seekers do not want to leave Tbilisi and find job in regions. I understand it is very difficult to listen to the truth, but people prefer to live in Tbilisi,  remain unemployed and complain, or blame the authorities for their unemployment, while today it is a real problem to find workforce in villages. Rural areas lack for engineers, agronomists, mechanizers and all other specialists», Khanishvili noted.

Unemployed citizens should change profession, if necessary, go to villages, join state programs and improve their condition in this way, he said.

«The average statistics shows that one person changes profession three times during the lifetime. We joke about taxi drivers with two university diplomas, but this should not be funny. People should change profession to get employed at villages, produce goods, improve financial condition of their families and serve the country. State programs and assistance will enable to move in this direction», the Deputy Agriculture Minister said.

Besides Deputy Agriculture Minister Giorgi Khanishvili, Nino Zambakhidze, head of Georgian Farmers Association, also confirms that villages lack for qualified staff. I personally face this problem every day, because there is deficiency of various specialists in villages, Nino Zambakhidze said.

There are only several professional agronomists in the country, 5-6 ones, she added.

«Not only foreign investors, but also Georgian entrepreneurs  face difficulties to find qualified staff in villages. This is our bitter reality. There is wider opportunity in big cities, while the problem with workforce is the sharpest in villages. I personally face deficiency of education, deficiency of qualified staff in everyday life. I frequently hear from private bodies and foreign business sector that they need qualified personnel in villages, while villages lacks for veterinaries, agronomists, livestock specialists,  post-harvest mangers and so on», Zambakhidze noted.

The problem solution should start from making  vocational education attainable in villages, Nino Zambakhidze said.

“Problem solution should start from making vocational education attainable. When we talk about lawyers and other popular professions, the demand is lower and the supply is higher. We have qualified staff in the mentioned fields, but there is serious deficiency of various professions in agriculture sector. The demand is huge, while supply is less. This problem should be removed. The more vocational education strengthens, the more benefits village and region residents will receive. Agriculture sector development is unimaginable without vocational education. A book may be written every 5 years, while technologies change every minute. Private sector will not put money in unqualified staff. Therefore, serious investments should be made in education sector. Private sector prefers to invite specialists from abroad than to take risks and entrust business to unqualified staff”, Nino Zambakhidze said.

Government should suspend subsidization of villages and investments should be made in people and their education, Nino Zambakhidze added.

“I believe subsidization should be ceased, because it is not a healthy mechanism for economy. You should know how to plough land. We need technologies, production and so on. We should put investments in people. We should have more vocational schools, arrange short-term trainings for village residents. Today people have specific demand at villages – they want to produce something new and they do not know how to do this. They want someone to teach them, provide recommendations, train them”, Nino Zambakhidze pointed out.

There is one additional problem in villages, despite unemployment and poverty. Sometimes, village residents refuse working because of two reasons – they find salaries unsatisfactory and secondly, they do not want to lose the social status, she said.

“In some cases people just do not want to work or they want to work, but find conditions unsatisfactory. Despite unemployment and poverty, they refuse to work, because they demand for higher salaries. As to the category that does not want to work, this category consists of people with the status of socially vulnerable persons. They demand that employers issue salaries in cash, because they will lose the mentioned status if their salary transfers are registered.  Cash payments should not be processed in the 21st century. Companies avoid cash payments. I have heard that the private sector had invited workforce from big cities and they had not hired local residents in villages, because they did not want to issue salaries in cash”, Nino Zambakhidze said.

Zura Ramazashvili, head of Green Rancho company, also talks about a lack of professional staff. This problem is the sharpest one in this sector. Therefore,  it is impossible to broaden business unless companies train staff themselves, he noted.

“Today we lack for proficient people in this sector. People have spent the whole life in villages and we expect them to know how to care for cattle, but it turns out that they do not know many details. Today I employ several persons who know the sector. Consequently, they train new staff”, Ramazashvili noted.

Agriculture sector development is carried out at scientific level abroad, while our country remains in a germ phase. That’s why agribusiness companies require huge  investments in Georgia, he said.

“Even if you have the best goods and equipment, they should be managed by specialists. At this stage, we are carrying out training and improvement process at the company to make production more efficient”, Ramazashvili said.

LLC Green Rancho farm is located in Akhmeta District, Kakheti Region. In 2015 the company took part in agrocredits program and obtained 500 000 GEL financial support.

Archil Lursmanashvili, head of Razhdeni agriculture cooperative, also talks about a lack of agriculture specialists. Nobody wants to live and work in villages today and therefore, agriculture education is forgotten, he said.

Currently, our cooperative grows, packs, stores and sells agriculture products. Today, agriculture sector is not attractive direction and that’s why villages lack for due specialists, Lursmanashvili pointed out.