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Ajara Joins Forces with EU and UNDP to Boost Rural Development

The Government of the Ajara Autonomous Republic (AR) has agreed to contribute €230,000 to enhance the implementation of regional components of a €10 million EU-funded project “ENPARD-3: Improving Rural Development in Georgia” aimed at promoting rural development and small and medium-sized businesses.

Tornike Rizhvadze, Chairperson of the Ajara AR Government, and Louisa Vinton, Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia, signed an agreement covering the autonomous region’s contribution to the project in Batumi on 18 December 2018.

Under the agreement, in the period of 2018-2022, the European Union, in cooperation with UNDP, will assist in developing economic alternatives outside agriculture for families in Ajara’s rural areas and support the region’s government to develop and implement effective rural development policies.

“Rural development creates new opportunities for every village and promotes economic and social progress for every citizen,” said Louisa Vinton, Head of UNDP Georgia. “This new initiative gives us a chance to help Ajara families build sustainable livelihoods where farming is no longer profitable.”

The assistance to the Ajara AR comes as a component of the third phase of the EU’s European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), which has been implemented in Georgia since 2013 with a total budget of €179.5 million. The first phase focused on developing the country’s agricultural potential, while the second and third phases aim to create economic opportunities for the rural population that go beyond agricultural activities.