EU Helps Farmers Reduce Costs by 30%
In Nasreti, Gori district, Temur Psuturi runs a farm in the same place where his family has been engaged in grain farming for many years and where their cooperative presently cultivates about 150 hectares of land by growing wheat, barley and sunflower.
Over the years, local farmers began to face an increasingly acute problem with regards to the quality of the soil in the region, with the condition of the earth slowly deteriorating and yields decreasing. As the farmers realized that the traditional methods to improve soil quality were no longer effective, they decided to adopt innovative agricultural techniques and joined an ongoing EU-funded project which aims to promote no-till farming. They are now the beneficiaries of the scheme, which seeks to ensure food security and sustainable economic development in the country. The scheme has been implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and is now in its third year under the ENPARD programme.
Under the ENPARD project, farmers are given the opportunity to adopt modern agricultural techniques at their farms. No-till farming has resulted positively in terms of cost reduction and environmental impact, as the method ultimately has a greater impact on soil fertility.
Soon after the beginning of the project, the farmers became less skeptical as they began to see real results:
“Thanks to the EU, we have the opportunity to use no-till farming. Special machinery permits sowing without tilling, which reduces costs by about 20-30%,” notes Temur. “No-till farming helps us adopt new approaches in agriculture and compete with large grain producers”.
No-till has vastly simplified the overall working process, as the land does not need to be plowed and tilled, reducing fuel and mechanization costs, and saving farmers money.
More than 200 farmers in Georgia are already using the no-till technique. According to Alessandra Guidotti, FAO’s International Agronomy and Extension Specialist, more than 1,500 hectares of land in Eastern Georgia have already been cultivated with the method supported under the EU-funded project.
In addition to the vast economic benefits, no-till farming also responds appropriately to modern challenges. FAO expert also highlights the aspects of climate change mitigation: “Land plots are more vulnerable to environmental risk factors and climate change. Natural residues of the previous harvest cover the soil creating a protective layer and increasing its resistance to erosion caused by wind, floods and rain. At the same time, the soil becomes more fertile,” she says.
Beneficiaries are already well-aware of the importance of no-till planting. Temur and his family are now implementing this modern agricultural technique step-by-step, and in the future plan to fully shift their practices to no-till farming.