EU Twinning project on food safety in Georgia summarised its results in the closing event
The European Union funded Twinning project with the National Food Agency of Georgia, gathered food business operators and associations, and donors of the food safety sector in Georgia for a closing event at the Hilton Garden Inn in Tbilisi.
State institutions responsible for food safety in Georgia, together with the project partners from Latvia, Estonia, and Sweden, presented the results of the project “Ensuring further progress of SPS and food safety system in Georgia” and discussed the next steps to further the progress of Georgia in facilitating the export of Georgian agricultural products to the European Union market, as well as enhancing food safety domestically.
Representatives of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, the Embassies of Latvia and Estonia to Georgia and the Georgian authorities addressed the audience, highlighting the main priorities of the EU-Georgia cooperation in food safety.
The project leaders and the National Food Agency summarised the key recommendations of the European experts and spoke about the way forward for enhancing the food safety system in Georgia.
With the EU support, this project has facilitated Georgia’s efforts to reach higher food safety, and animal and plant health standards, thus providing safer and more qualitative food in the country and opening more possibilities for the export of Georgian products.
‘’Today we take stock of the results aiming at consumer protection and high food standards achieved in the context of the Twinning on ensuring further progress of SPS and food safety system in Georgia. Georgia has been progressing in SPS, food chain, and monitoring systems. It is essential to have broader coverage and inclusion of civil society and consumer groups in implementing the approximated legislation and Food safety in the country” said the European Union.
“The aim of the project was to contribute to strengthening consumer confidence in the food control system and enhancing the competitiveness of Georgian food products in the EU market. The project has ended now – various documents have been prepared to improve and bring Georgia’s food chain and animal health monitoring and control system closer to the norms of the European Union. Several experience exchange visits and training of experts have taken place. Now the next step has to be taken – the system must start working at full capacity. These will be both opportunities and challenges for both Georgian food producers and supervisory authorities”, said the project leader from Latvia, Director General of the Food and Veterinary Service of Latvia Māris Balodis.
“Learning from the experiences of other countries is essential in the process of fulfilling the obligations undertaken under DCFTA. The EU Twinning project provided us with this opportunity. I would particularly underline the experience of those countries that have a similar past to Georgia. Within the framework of the Twinning project, Georgian specialists participated in the study visits to the EU Member States, and the European experts shared their best practices in all three directions when visiting Georgia. This will help our specialists in performing their everyday work”, stated Zurab Chekurashvili, the project leader from Georgia and Head of the National Food Agency.
The EU-funded Twinning project (EUR 1 450 000 EUR) commenced its activities in October 2020, and during that period, the implementing European food safety institutions worked closely with the Georgian colleagues for legal approximation as well as to align national rules and procedures with EU standards and build capacities in food safety, veterinary, phytosanitary, and SPS border control.
The key results of the project include recommendations on draft legal acts to bring them to EU standards, measures to improve the planning of official controls and response to food-borne diseases outbreaks, contingency plans for selected dangerous infectious animal diseases, road maps to obtain official free statuses for certain diseases, monitoring programmes for priority plant pests, updated institutional instructions and standard operating procedures for official control, capacity building for the specialists of the National Food Agency and the Revenue Service in food safety, veterinary, phytosanitary and border control areas.
Twinning is a European Union instrument allowing for a direct exchange of knowledge and expertise between EU Member States’ public administrations and their counterparts in the Beneficiary Country. In Georgia, the first Twinning project was launched in 2009. Since then, a vast majority of key priority areas of EU-Georgia cooperation have been covered by the Twinning instrument, and the demand has consistently increased.
For additional information, please see: www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/georgia
Mr. Raivis Grosbardis, Resident Twinning Adviser
Delegation of the European Union to Georgia
Tamriko Mikadze, Press and Information Officer