EU, CzDA, and FAO Support Georgia’s Food Safety, Plant Protection, and Veterinary Sector Reforms
through the support of the European Union (EU) and Sweden, under the EU-funded ENPARD IV “Support to the Food Safety and SPS Sector in Georgia” project, a three-day workshop on the EU Regulation 2017/625 on Official Control was held at Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace. The event was organised by the Czech Development Agency (CzDA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO).
The workshop aimed to provide guidance and support for implementing Official Control Regulation #625 in Georgian legislation. With donors’ support, experts from the Czech Republic and Italy were invited to conduct the workshop, attended by Georgian policymakers, regulators, and field specialists. The workshop marks the initial step in the European Union’s comprehensive assistance in implementing the Official Control Regulation in Georgia.
The first two days of the workshop were dedicated to the EU Regulation 2017/625 on Official Control, with a combination of the EU Regulation 2017/625 and EU Regulation 2016/2031, including general issues, requirements, and best practice sharing for its implementation by the Czech Republic. The Czech plant protection experts, Mr. Michal Hnízdil and Mr. Petr Vaculík, led the workshop. The sessions focused on plant protection interpretation/implications of the mentioned EU regulations for plant protection official cntrols and included information about the Czech experience. The FAO consultant, Mr. Ruggero Urbani, a food safety expert from Italy, held the third day of the workshop and mainly concentrated on the possible application of the EU Regulation 2017/625 in Georgia.
Over 30 professionals from Georgia’s plant protection field participated in the event. The workshop’s content had been designed to respond to Georgia’s existing plant protection-related challenges. Some of the critical topics introduced and elaborated on during the educational sessions included:
- EU Regulation 2017/625: its origin and position in the EU food safety system, basic principles, and definitions.
- Competent authorities – general obligations Annual and multi-annual control plans – Czech experiences and conditions for entering the Union of Animals and Goods. The responsibilities of the competent authority and the structure and the scope of plant health in the Czech Republic according to the EU legislation II; The main rules of the official controls in the field of plant health I
- The main rules of the official controls in the field of plant health II; Phytosanitary import control at the EU points of entry – the Czech approach.
- Phytosanitary examination of plants at the places of production and on the market as the part of the official control – the Czech approach; The official control of the operators authorized to apply the mark on wood packaging material – the Czech approach.
- The Czech national reference laboratory in plant health diagnostics – structure and the competence in line with the Official Control Regulation.
- The Czech experience with the Plant Health Regulation and the Official Control Regulation and the further progress I; The Czech experience with the Plant Health Regulation and the Official Control Regulation and the further progress II.
“I thank the workshop participants, the Czech Development Agency and the FAO for this initial step for Georgia in approximating its plant protection legislation to the European Union one. Such an approach will certainly efficiently protect the health of crops while safeguarding the farmers’ revenues, the biodiversity and the environment and ensure the quality of plant products and safety of food and feed made from plants cultivated by responsible farmers and related food business operators. This initial step not only reflects the commitments taken by the Government of Georgian under the DCFTA with the European Union aiming at extending and diversifying the market access of Georgian agricultural products but also considers the latest development of the implementation of the “farm to fork strategy” in the EU with a 50 % reduction target in the overall use of and risk from chemical plant protection products and a 50 % reduction in the use of hazardous pesticides by 2030” said Denis Reiss, Attaché, Programme officer for Sustainable Food Systems, Delegation of the European Union to Georgia.
“The Czech Republic still has fresh experience with the implementation of EU Regulation 2017/625 and EU Regulation 2016/2031, which are so closely linked to the quality of life of the country’s inhabitants, and we are therefore pleased that Czech experts, who have been involved in the implementation of above mentioned regulations, can offer their experience, knowledge and share it with Georgian professionals and partners.” said Blanka M. Remešová, the Head of EU Funded Project in Georgia, Czech Development Agency.
“During the process of approximating the food safety standards in Georgia to those of the European Union, it is vital to have the regulatory framework in place, and the regulation on the official control system is a cornerstone of the full food safety system in Georgia. We are very happy to join forces with our Czech colleagues, under the ENPARD programme financed by the European Union and Sweden, to support this process, which will be very important for the future of Georgia” Said Javier Sanz Alvarez, FAO Programme Coordinator.
Within the framework of the commitments taken by the Government of Georgia under the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement (DCFTA) with the European Union, according to Georgia’s legislative approximation plan to the EU, next year, the country should implement the EU Regulation 2017/625 on official control in the fields of food safety, veterinary and plant protection. The mentioned means that Georgia’s state control in terms of food safety, veterinary, and plant protection should be brought closer to the relevant legislation of the European Union. The workshop organised by the CzDA and FAO on November 27-29, 2023, is part of the European Union’s large-scale support to Georgia in this direction.
The European Union supports rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Aiming to reduce rural poverty, ENPARD has been implemented since 2013. The Programme started by supporting the development of national agriculture potential. Afterwards, it concentrated also on creating economic opportunities for rural populations in Georgia. Since 2021, the Programme has also been working on improving food safety in the country, with additional support from Sweden, and having FAO and the Czech Development Agency as the main implementers of this food safety component under ENPARD IV.
- Nina Kopaleishvili, Communication Coordinator, CzDA; email@example.com, +995 598 94 00 04
- Natia Khuluzauri, Communication Officer, FAO; firstname.lastname@example.org, +995577245502