Georgia is primarily an agricultural country, and women are crucial participants and contributors to agricultural development. Nonetheless, the contribution of women to agricultural production remains invisible and underrecognized.
These women also face difficulties in accessing crucial resources such as land, agricultural inputs, new technologies, and financing opportunities, as well as information, extension services, and training opportunities. With better agricultural knowledge rural women could enhance their farms’ production and raise standard of living for their children and families.
To overcome this shortcoming, female farmers in Georgia have learned about agricultural production and good practices from FAO and the European Union (EU) under the umbrella of the European Neighborhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural Development (ENPARD).
Tsiuri Beridze lives in Georgia’s mountainous Adjara region that is short of arable land and thus challenging enough even for FAO agronomists. She was among the first female farmers in her community volunteering to learn about the new agricultural practices and technologies.
“Manual transplanting turns work into suffering, but from FAO and EU programme experts I’ve learnt that it can be done in a smarter and easier way,” Tsiuri said, who cultivates a 0.05 hectare plot.
She vigorously enriched her substantial experience of tomato production and took full advantage of producing vegetable seedlings in trays, arranging ridges and mulch, as well as using transplanters for seedlings, a process which ultimately saved her a lot of hard, physical work.
“Seeing my example, my neighbors also decided to buy transplanters for the next season. This is just one small development along with a lot of useful information and tips that professional agronomists provided for us,” she added.
The support is multidimensional, and, building on FAO’s experience, it ranges from establishing demonstration plots and farmer field schools to helping make the best decisions for improving crop qualities and increasing incomes. Activities cover several municipalities all across the country (Akhalkalaki, Akhmeta, Dedoplistskaro, Keda Lagodekhi, Tetritskaro, Tsalka, and Tskaltubo), and haven’t even stopped due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Along with enhancing the knowledge of female farmers in Georgia’s remote districts, FAO and the EU also organized a series of gender training sessions for state agricultural extension specialists in February. So far, more than 100 people from seven different municipalities of Georgia have participated in the training programme, aimed at equipping them with necessary tools for mainstreaming gender into their work.
Participants learned new information and theoretical concepts from FAO experts on gender and gender mainstreaming. Based on the knowledge obtained, the extensionists are expected to design and deliver better advice to the farmers in a gender-sensitive way. ■