ENPARD presents one more photo project on successful agricultural cooperative, which has already used the opportunity offered by the European Union and has received the first results. ENPARD, in cooperation with its regional partner Care International has financed women’s recently established cooperative “Vardi-2014”. Behind this project there is a strong group of five women who had put out a fierce fight not only for economic gain but for maintaining their friendship circle. When two members of the cooperative were getting their passports ready and planning to illegally immigrate to Europe due to financial difficulties, their friends came up with the idea to use the opportunities fostered by ENPARD, which offers development through financial assistance to cooperatives.
“Vardi-2014” is a cooperative of friends who decided to start up their own business, which would improve their families financial situation and at the same time would give them a chance to continue their daily relationships. The idea was generated from the fact that one of the members of the cooperative had an old construction of 240m2 greenhouse in her garden, which could have been renewed and made functional in case of financial assistance.
“We have gone through difficult timestogether and we proved that we can support each other to the end. Recently two of our friends decided to take a path of illegal emigration due to financial constraints. This was one more additional factor, which motivated us to start our own business.” –says Ms. LeilaChochia, one of the members of the cooperative.
It is true that the group has no experience in business, but all of them have different backgrounds and have experience in various fields, thus the functions have been distributed based on their skills. Ms. Leila Chochia has undergone training organized by USAID NEO in greenhouse management. Now she works on marketing issues of “Vardi-2014”. Nana Kupreishvili is an IDP from Abkhazia with the diploma in Agri science, she had worked in Sokhumi city hall on environmental issues. She uses her experience and knowledge for the best purposes of the cooperative development now. Another member of the cooperative is Ms. MananaBokuchava who is an accountant by profession. She deals with the financial aspects of the cooperative at the moments. Ms. Inga Mugasashvili works at a local shop as a saleswoman, thus she has great experience in sales and will contribute to the cooperative as sales manager. Ms. Nana Fanculaia is a project coordinator; as the greenhouse is located in her yard she is the one who spends most of the time there daily.
Although roses are already blooming at the premises of the cooperative “Vardi-2014” the members of the cooperative are working on the strengthening of rose bushes at the moment and envision that their first sales will be activated from September 2015. They are prepared in terms of transportation for that period and own a car, which will help them to deliver the flowers to the shops throughout the region.
The cooperative members have used the grant from ENPARD to renew the greenhouse construction, equipping it with ventilation and irrigation systems, special shade net, and purchasing 500 bushes of roses. The financial assistance from ENPARD implemented with the help of its regional partner Care International amounted to 7909 GEL. The cooperative’s financial contribution is 4488 GEL. At the same time their non-monetary contribution via the greenhouse construction was calculated as equal to 8000 GEL.
The members of the cooperative “Vardi-2014” plan to open their own flower shop in the center of Abasha in the near future, where together with the roses they plan to sell many different types of flowers and the fertilizers and pesticides needed in rose cultivation.
“We will do our best to insure that successful management is the main driving force for our business: all our decisions should be well-thought out in advance. We look at the wide picture, have a long-lasting plans. We will also try to be flexible, this will help us to maintain our positions in the changing environment. Focusing on the possibilities will help us to turn our weaknesses into strengths, which is extremely important in a long run.” –say the cooperative members.
Ms. Leila Chochia has underlined the fact that if not ENPARD, their friendship circle was in real danger. She is especially grateful to ENPARD’s local partner – Care International’s representatives for their assistance, trainings and informational meetings. According to Ms. Chachia, ENPARD is a project which really works and it is impossible not to be grateful to everyone involved.