Posted on January 11, 2010 by Chelsea Coakley, Program Analyst, Department of Compact Implementation
Investments in agricultural development are integral to MCC’s commitment to sustainable poverty reduction in rural Georgia. The Millennium Challenge Georgia Fund (MCG), implementing Georgia’s $395 million MCC compact, is nearing completion of the Agribusiness Development Activity (ADA), a $20 million program designed to strengthen commercial linkages among agricultural service providers, producers, processors, wholesalers/distributors, and markets. The 287 targeted matching grants already awarded to Georgian agribusinesses and farmers are supporting sustainable, long-term growth.
In addition to providing grants focused on enterprise and value chain development, MCG responded to a request from the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture to support the introduction of new agricultural machinery into the country by developing a new ADA component. The inability of small farmers to access machinery has been cited as a major constraint to agricultural development in Georgia. To meet the needs of Georgian farmers for increased mechanization of their agricultural techniques, MCG is providing grants up to $150,000 to a number of farm service centers. Over the past 4.5 years, ADA has focused, in part, on the creation of a privately-owned retail network of farm service centers to provide a complete range of agricultural goods and services for Georgian farmers.
USAID has also responded to the need for new agricultural machinery in Georgia. In early December 2009, USAID launched the Access to Mechanization Program, a $5.1 million program that will provide similar grants, in combination with a number of other funding mechanisms, to establish 25 to 30 machinery service centers throughout the country. The MCC and USAID programs complement each other and maximize impact by promoting a commercially-sustainable model of agribusiness that benefits farmers as well as the owners and employees of farm service centers and machinery service centers throughout Georgia.
As a result of MCC-funded farm machinery grants and USAID’s newly-launched Access to Mechanization Program, beneficiary farmers will now be able to plant, cultivate, and harvest their crops far more efficiently. Georgian farmers are motivated to move toward greater mechanization, as they expect the effect to be transformative. By increasing productivity and improving the quality of their existing crops, farmers will be able to generate greater income and secure necessary capital for upcoming seasons.