Georgia has a rich culinary history based around dairy and meat production. The Eastern European nation’s climate and agronomic conditions make it an optimal place for further development of these industries. However, Georgia’s dairy and beef industries comprise of nearly half of all agricultural output and opportunities for growth based on both domestic and export market opportunities are favorable. As Georgia continues to look westward for trade partners, now is an opportune time for a strong private sector led initiative to transform the dairy and beef sectors.
With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Land O’Lakes International Development is leading the innovative, demand-driven Food for Progress SQIL project to improve food safety and quality along Georgia’s dairy and beef value chains.
Throughout the project, Land O’Lakes is partnering with Michigan State University and the Georgian Farmers’ Association, uniting agribusiness know-how with industry leading food safety acumen and deep Georgian agribusiness connections. From farm-to-fork, this project aims to reduce losses, and boost competitiveness, productivity and trade of milk and meat products. To do this, the project will:
- Grow consumer awareness around food safety and quality, and establish a national Consortium of dairy and beef industry associations to serve as a marketing and knowledge platform, and Seal of Quality to incentivize processors to develop and package innovative, certiﬁ ed and improved quality, branded products;
- Enable dairy and beef wholesalers, retailers and cold chain providers to develop infrastructure and technical capabilities in product handling, storage and merchandising. This will enable milk collection centers, beef fatteners, processors, slaughterhouses, wholesalers and retailers to meet seal of quality requirements, the Government of Georgia’s food safety regulations, and eventually meet international food safety standards;
- Grant competitive awards to incentivize and buy down the risk of entrepreneurial aggregators, processors and input suppliers looking to scale. This will enable agribusinesses to develop and extend value-added service models to meet the growing needs of commercially oriented clients;
- Improve commercial farmers’ productivity and weather resiliency by facilitating access to comprehensive extension services, improved inputs and technologies, and new asset protection products; and • Build the capacity of the Government of Georgia National Food Agency to enforce food safety standards.