Agriculture plays a central role in the economic and social development of Georgia, as it is the main source of income for the rural population. Rural communities have not benefited from economic growth in recent years: there is growing inequality and people living in rural areas are considerably poorer than urban residents. Improving vocational training in agriculture is essential, as there is currently a significant gap between farmers’ skills and the skills demanded by the market. The SDC is assisting the Georgian government in its efforts to modernise the public VET system, which will allow an increase in farm productivity and rural incomes in the long term.
Reducing rural-urban migration
Since gaining its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia has not adapted its VET system to the needs of a market economy. This neglect is felt at several levels. For example, because livestock farmers often lack access to veterinary services and use few inputs (medicines, feed, etc.) animal health is adversely affected. As a result, productivity is low and subsistence farming is more prevalent than market-oriented agricultural practices. Young people are less and less willing to stayin the villages and get increasingly attracted by the prospect of earning a higher income in the capital, Tbilisi. Yet as this documentary film portraying the lives of Medea and Giorgi – two young people determined to take part in the economic life of their home village – makes clear, improved vocational education and training programmes are beginning to offer better prospects in rural areas: