Georgia: Republic of Georgia: USAID program to revitalize potato sector
In Georgia, potatoes are in high demand by households, restaurants and food processors, but still potato farming is not a major contributor to the nation’s economic growth.
This is because the ever-increasing demand for potatoes is met mostly with imports. In the period July to August 2021 alone, imports were 26 percent higher than for the past three years. Georgia’s domestic potato production is inefficient and small in scale, with most potato farmers relying on low quality seed potatoes that are prone to a variety of diseases.
To capitalize on growing demand, Georgia needs to close the gap between potato consumers and the potato-producing rural communities. That is why in 2019, the USAID Potato Program was launched, an initiative with a straightforward name and a straightforward objective: to give Georgia’s potato farmers the technologies, tools, and training they need to produce high-quality potatoes on a sufficient scale to compete with imports and drive economic growth in their communities.
To institutionalize the use of modern potato seeds and production methods, the program is building a network of partner farmers responsible for disseminating improved potato varieties and associated technologies throughout the country. By the end of 2022, the program aims to provide top-quality seed potatoes to more than 15,000 smallholder farmers across Georgia, resulting in revenue growth of about USD 8.7 million per year.