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  From October 18 to October 24, under USDA's Georgian Animal Health Program, Georgian delegation comprising the representatives from the National Food Agency (NFA), National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) the Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia (LMA), GIPA/GRDP veterinarian and program assistant, USDA – Georgia representative attended the annual meeting of US Animal Health Association (USAHA) in the city of San Diego, CA, USA.   The visit was hosted by the technical experts of Colorado State University. Prior the scheduled USAHA meeting, from October 16 the team traveled to the cities of Davis and visited CA State Laboratory, also observed the operation of big dairy farm, possessing 3500 dairy cows in the city of Tulare, which is regularly served as a spot for the practical experience of the veterinary students.   Orientation meetings conducted every day enabled the delegates to plan their time and attendance in USAHA sessions according their needs and interest. Guest speakers from the state and federal government presented the veterinary service system in US and answered the questions from the Georgian colleagues.  Future plans related to improvement of animal health situation in Georgia has been set and agreed with the stakeholders.   Third Anthrax workshop was held in San Diego on October 22, 23. NFA, NCDC and LMA presented their accomplished projects on Anthrax disease and talked about the plans for   the nearest future.

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NATIONAL ANIMAL HEALTH PROGRAM (NAHP)   13th Steering Group Meeting Takes Place in Bazaleti

  Lake Bazaleti, in Georgia’s Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, provided the backdrop for the National Animal Health Program’s 13th Steering Group Meeting which was held on July 24, 2013.  The Meeting brought together Steering Group Members for the third time this year to continue to work on the coordination of the National Animal Health Program (NAHP) 2013-2018 and the Action Plan 2013-2014 as well to expand the Group’s outreach and engagement with Georgia’s regions. The Meeting was chaired by Davit Shervashidze, First Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and coordinated by Nana Kashakashvili, NAHP Steering Group Coordinator at the GRDP of GIPA.  Coordination of the Steering Group is funded through support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Debby Reynolds, Affiliated Professor of the Animal Population Health Institute at Colorado State University (USA), gave a brief introduction to the National Animal Health Program and Action Plan and described the process of its creation and finalization.  “I must underline the very useful input and comments we received from all stakeholders of this document,” she stated.  “Steering Group Members actively responded to our requests for consultation with their replies falling mainly in three categories:  there were comments on style, comments on detail as concerned where information updates were needed and comments on substance with, for this last category, a real focus on including the One Health Principles of bringing together animal and human health as well as the environment.  The document emphasizes the role of a strong private veterinary sector.  It highlights the need for both monitoring and evaluation of progress.  It also underlines the important role of the Steering Group in overseeing the process.  The document cannot sit on the shelf if it is to be valuable,” she noted.  “It needs to come into regular use.” The National Animal Health Program and Action Plan were adopted at the...

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DEVELOPMENT OF THE PRIVATE VETERINARY SECTOR IN GEORGIA USDA Welcomes Animal Health Program Partners

  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted a workshop on the development of the private veterinary sector in Georgia on July 18, 2013.  The workshop looked specifically at the key issues and challenges facing the country’s private veterinary sector and offered opportunities for presentation and discussion of approaches targeting the creation of a sustainable, accessible, affordable and credible professional service alongside raising the importance of and interest in the field among both consumers of veterinary services and the practitioners themselves, as well as potential new young veterinarians.The workshop was organized into a morning session featuring a roundtable agenda of presentations and question-and-answer discussions and an afternoon session comprised of four individual working groups tasked with discussing pre-determined private veterinary sector-relevant topics and presenting conclusions and recommendations before a final wrap-up of the day’s events overall.  Demna Dzirkvadze, USDA Representative in Georgia, chaired the workshop.Elizabeth Leonardi, Animal Health Program Manager of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, gave a brief introduction to the Program and highlighted the USDA’s partnership with Georgia in supporting the Government of Georgia’s goals to meet international trade regulations.  “The private veterinary sector is a key player in improving the disease situation in Georgia, helping farmers increase their animal production and implementing Georgia’s goals in the National Animal Health Program,” she said.  “The USDA has been one of the main donors funding development of this sector and today we are looking forward to sharing with you some of what we have learned in this process, but also now is the time to time to listen to each others’ experiences and begin a wider conversation and partnership in the development of this sector.”Jim Hanson, Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Maryland and the principle author of the USDA-supported Animal Health Capacity Building Program evaluation, discussed the...

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On June 15, 2013

On June 15, 2013 at the Public Library, Georgian Institute Of Public Affairs organized spring semester certificate programs graduation ceremony. Among other course participants certificates were awarded to the students of Agribusiness Management Program. Michael Steiner –USDA Representative and Instructor of the Agribusiness Management Course congratulated students with successful completion of the course and awarded them Certificates on Behalf of Georgian Rural Development Program of GIPA. Three-week long course on Agribusiness Management was held by Georgian Rural Development Program (GRDP) of Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) from June 13 to July 5, 2013. The course was conducted by international and local experts, with many years of experience in the field of agriculture. Georgian Rural Development program of GIPA is planning to continue delivering courses in Agriculture Field.          

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June 13, 2013

On June 13, 2013 Georgian Rural Development Program (GRDP) of Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) within USDA’s Animal Health Program organized a coordination meeting for representatives of Consultation Center of the Ministry of Agriculture, National Food Agency, international donor organizations, private practice veterinarians and farmers residing in Samtskhe-Javakheti region. The goal of the meeting was to promote cooperation between veterinarians and farmers. Participants pointed out the problems in intersectoral cooperation and identified the ways to more proactive partnership. The meeting was attended by local representative of the United States Department of Agriculture in Georgia –Mr. Demna Dzirkvadze, Georgian Rural Development Program coordinator –Ms. Ketevan Jakeli, GRDP veterinary consultant –Mr. Amiran Kochalidze, association development specialist –Mr. Karlo Kervalishvili, GRDP regional coordinator –Mr. Zurab Sadatierashvili and AMC officer in veterinary issues –Ms. Ketevan Rukhadze.  

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June 8, 2013

On June 8, 2013 Georgian Rural Development Program (GRDP) of Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) within USDA’s Animal Health Program organized the training on Brucellosis disease. Training was conducted by GRDP Veterinary Consultant - Mr. Amiran Kochalidze and was held in the farm owned by Mr. Vakhtang Okroshiashvili in village Skra, Gori municipality. Five private veterinarians, who are the members of Shida Kartli Veterinarians’ Regional Association, attended the training together with three local farmers.    

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June 7, 2013 meeting

On June 7, 2013 Georgian Rural Development Program (GRDP) of Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) within USDA’s Animal Health Program organized a meeting for Shida Kartli Veterinarians’ Regional Association (VRA) members and local farmers in Gori municipality. Local government officials, representatives from consultation center of the Ministry of Agriculture, National Food Agency, private practice veterinarians and farmers attended the meeting. Shida Kartli VRA future plans and objectives were shared among the attendees. Legislative issues, veterinarian’s obligation towards the farmers, problems existing in pig farms were discussed with the audience and information about the most problematic issues of animal health were provided to farmers. Gori Information Center hosted the event. Photogallery

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On May 30, 2013

On May 30, 2013 Georgian Rural Development Program (GRDP) of Georgian Institute of public Affairs (GIPA) within USDA’s Animal Health program arranged training on animal internal non transmitted diseases. Training was conducted by GRDP Veterinary Consultant - Mr. Amiran Kochalidze at Kachreti community college ’’AISI’’.  

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Real Life

NEW LESSONS, NEW LIVES

“Crunchy cucumbers.  Juicy tomatoes.  We grew these at the greenhouse.  All kinds of herbs, too.  We would have friendly competitions amongst ourselves to see whose vegetables were better.  Everything tasted so good.”

Makhare Kvaratskhelia’s stories make my stomach growl and have me looking at my watch and wishing it were lunch time.

He, along with other orphaned children living in a care facility in the town of Tsalenjikha in West Georgia, was an active member of a public education and public outreach project targeting rural-domiciled orphans by providing capacity-building training to impart practical agriculture-based knowledge and resources alongside leadership and life skills with a view to increasing their opportunities for employment, inclusion and community leadership while raising self-esteem and self-confidence through the newly-gained abilities and experiences.

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Georgian National Animal Health Steering Group Holds its Tenth Meeting

The tenth meeting of the Georgian National Animal Health Steering Group was held on 26 July 2012 at the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia. 

Malkhaz Akishbaia, Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Steering Group Chair, opened the meeting and presented the agenda of points for discussion concerning the progress of the Georgian National Animal Health Program.  Of special note was the introduction and welcome of Joakim Holmdahl and Toomas Tiirats, both of the Swedish Board of Agriculture, as new members to the Steering Group.

The first of the afternoon’s speakers, Giga Mikautadze, Deputy Head of the Department of Agriculture Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, gave an informative presentation about the current activities being implemented by the Ministry as well as outlining the vision, mission and major objectives of the continued development of agriculture in Georgia.  “It [agriculture] is one of the priorities for the country and one of the most important sectors,” he said, “and one in which we already have a great many examples of improvements.  We believe that agriculture should be competitive in Georgia and so we think a lot about food safety and try to concentrate on increased productivity.”  In giving specific examples of the positive changes, Mikautadze talked about the 12 mechanization centers as well as the now six extension service centers operating in ten regions across the country with one of the extension centers having opened a laboratory providing farmers with soil testing services (July 2012).

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SAFEGUARDING GEORGIA’S HIGHLAND HERDS
Combining Traditional Livelihoods and Modern Science

by Jeffrey Morski, 28 December 2011
“We covered the whole territory.  By car, as far as the roads went, then by horse, as far as the trails went, and then on foot when that was the only way left to go.”

Akaki Elanidze, Chair of the Kakheti Veterinarians’ Regional Association (VRA), is using the map on the wall, pointing here and there over top of the words TUSHETI written in big letters in the fancy Georgian script, as he tells about visiting shepherds in these rugged and isolated highlands of northern Georgia and helping them protect their animals.

Elanidze is a part of the team of experts assembled for the Georgian Carnivore Conservation Project, organised by the NACRES Center for Biodiversity Conservation and Research and implemented in partnership with GRDP of GIPA and the Kakheti VRA.

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Marking a Milestone
Professional Training Center at ISEZ
GRDP of GIPA held a presentation of its Professional Education Center project on 12 December 2011 at the Integrated Socio-Economic Zone (ISEZ) in Pkhvenisi village, ShidaKartli region.

The Center is funded by the Public Service Reform Initiative of the Open Society Institute and the Gori Municipality Local Government Office and implemented within ISEZ, a multi-component umbrella project designed and run by the GRDP of GIPA with funding from the US Department of State and the UNHCR in cooperation with local interest groups.

With the main hall filled with people—and the classroom, now emptied of its desks and chairs and turned into an art gallery—it is clear to see that this has been a busy year.

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EMPOWERING PEOPLE

CHANGING LIVES
Rural Rehabilitation through Economic, Social and Community Activities
By Jeffrey Morski, 25 November 2011, Shindisi, Georgia

Set against a perfectly blue sky, the snow-covered mountains and bright sunshine make for an equally perfect canvas for the village farmhouses and their apple trees and cabbage patches that dot the fields and roadsides of Shida Kartli.

The simple beauty of this rural landscape, as if made to order, makes it easy to forget that Russian tanks rolled up and down the roads as Russian soldiers burned houses, killed animals and razed orchards during the August 2008 war which hit this region—and especially Gori and its environs—disproportionately hard.

Hundreds were injured, displaced and killed in an attack that no one expected and no one deserved.

Post-war rehabilitation is ongoing in the region as local and international organizations have risen to the challenges of helping the rural communities regain their lives and livelihoods through various programs of activity and engagement.

GRDP of GIPA, with funding from the US Department of State, the UNHCR and supportedby the Office of the State Minister for Reintegration, conceptualized, designed, built and now implements Georgia’s first rural development complex with the specific aim of assisting the rural rehabilitation process in Shida Kartli through providing opportunities for economic, social and community activities.

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