The majority of people going hungry in the world today live in rural areas, yet they are also relied on to feed the world. Agriculture remains the prime source of livelihoods in rural areas of Georgia and Armenia - with people working as farmers, labourers on larger farms, or in food processing and allied industries. Women form more than half of the agricultural workforce and are often in jobs that are the lowest paid or unpaid altogether.
Launched in 2013, this five year programme aims to improve food security and nutrition in Armenia and Georgia. By working with civil society networks and alliances, we ensure that the five-year national agricultural, food security and nutritional policies developed in each country benefit women and men smallholder farmers. Additionally, we aim to positively change attitudes and increase the demand for healthy and locally produced food.
The programme identified the following three areas as the main problems relating to people's food security in Armenia and Georgia:
- Low level of food production (availability)
- High price of food and lack of affordability of nutritious food (access)
- High level of poor health outcomes due to non-diversified food consumption (utilization)
The main causes of the problems are seen to be the lack of effective policies to address food insecurity, as well as low awareness among policy makers and the general public of the importance of food security and its long-term impact on people's health. The programme has therefore implemented the following strategies:
- Contributing to the design and implementation of effective, gender-sensitive food security and nutrition strategies
- Enacting food security and nutrition legislation to support local food production and consumption
- Increasing representation of civil society through strategy/policy decision-making processes
Working through partnerships
GAARD in Georgia and the Agriculture Alliance in Armenia are both networks with broad constituencies, capable of generating widespread public interest. Their member organizations represent farmers, gender-focused NGOs, youth, the private sector and various other constituencies.