FAO and EBRD push Georgian dairy investment

The EBRD and FAO are working to highlight the growth opportunities in Georgia's investment-starved dairy sector.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are promoting investment in Georgia’s dairy sector, saying production has good growth potential.

The FAO described the dairy sector as urgently in need of investment in new farms, training and modernisation to bring productivity and safety standards in line with the EU, in a briefing paper issued last year.

About 90 percent of the milk sold in in Georgia is imported, the organisation said. The sector has undergone a prolonged period of deterioration since the fall of the Soviet Union, as state-owned dairy production gave way to smallholders.

improved practices and adoption of new technology could nearly double profits for Georgia’s medium and large dairy. Two years ago, the country joined the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU.

The financial institutions launched a training programme for commerical dairy farmers at a National Dairy Congress in Tbilisi yesterday.

“Georgia has an excellent investment climate, ideal agro-climatic conditions for dairy farming and strong demand for milk, cheese and other dairy products,” Victoria Zinchuk, associate director of agribusiness at the EBRD.

The EBRD has so far invested €2.66 billion in Georgia, including a $1.3 million loan to an industrial dairy farm near the town of Kvareli in 2013.