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Alliances Caucasus Programme at a Glance

The Alliances programme, a market system development programme working in the livestock market system in Georgia, is a Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) project in cooperation with the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), implemented by Mercy Corps Georgia and run in accordance with the M4P (Making Markets Working for the Poor) Approach. The programme began in 2008 in Samstkhe Javakheti, Georgia. Alliances Kvemo Kartli was opened in 2011, with a second phase awarded to Samstkhe Javakheti. In 2014, the second phase of an expanded Kvemo Kartli was merged with a new branch of the programme in Ajara and a two-year monitoring and sustainability phase in Samstkhe Javakheti to form the Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme (ALCP). From 2014 Alliances management, programming and operations were fully harmonized under the ALCP. The programme has achieved substantial scale and systemic change well beyond the initial designated programme areas and targets and has devoted itself to learning, excellence and participation in a global community of practice in Market Systems Development, including being twice successfully audited by the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) Standard for Results Measurement. It has furthered learning and practice in Women’s Economic Empowerment and harnessed market systems programming to generate significant impact in transversal themes with a 54% average of female usage and access across all interventions.

The ALCP a viable platform for Regional Development

The programme has extensive networks and works in partnership with all levels of the private sector, civil society and government. This background formed the basis for the four year Alliances Caucasus Programme (ALCP) 2017-2021, which utilizes the platform created by the ALCP to significantly contribute to the goal of the new South Caucasus Swiss Development Cooperation Strategy 2017-2020. This SDC strategy sees a strengthening of the regional approach in the South Caucasus through the promotion of areas of mutual and beneficial interest between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia including cross-border initiatives in trade and the extension of services and inputs through the lens of agriculture based economic development which is considered to offer substantial opportunities for regional development and the rural populations of the three countries.

The ALCP programme is facilitating interventions in the livestock and honey market systems to safeguard ongoing sustainable growth, and is promoting new growth that includes ensuring access for SME’s and livestock and honey producers to cross border and other export markets.  It also exploits available entry points for the transfer of inputs and services successfully developed in Georgia to Armenia and Azerbaijan to enhance cross border linkages. Entrepreneurialism and job creation especially for women, the access to finance and financial literacy that is required to make this happen for SME’s and start-ups as well as  increased income from sustainable supply opportunities and stable quality inputs increasing productivity are key indicators of impact.

Evidence and Impact from which to Build the Regional Programme - from 2008 to April, 2019

LATEST NEWS
New Beekeeper Info Links Launched
22/05/2020
On the May 20th, 4,400 beekeepers registered in the new GBU database received an SMS notification from the Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU) on how to treat Varroa, the most common bee disease in Georgia. The GBU will continue informing its members through phone Facebook. And their new official webpage is now online: www.geobeekeepers.ge. Created in 2018, the GBU is an umbrella association uniting ten beekeeping associations and three commercial beekeeping companies.  
Beekeepers Union Keeps Bees Moving
21/05/2020
The Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU) successfully advocated for permits to be issued for beekeepers allowing them to continue work during the curfew. The Government of Georgia declared the nationwide curfew on March 30th, 2020 to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus, prohibiting any movement from 9:00 PM to 06:00 AM. This posed a serious problem for beekeepers who rely on transhumance predominantly at night. In Georgia, bee transhumance allows for beekeepers to place hives at different altitudes to capture the flowering of different plants. Starting from late Spring, Georgian beekeepers start to move apiaries to get different types of honey including Acacia,Chestnut, Alpine, Linden. The transhumance of bees significantly increases their honey productivity. On April 4th, the GBU sent an official letter to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia (MEPA) asking for the issuing of permission/passes for beekeepers including the guidance it developed for beekeepers during the Covid-19 outbreak. ‘We asked the Minister to mediate with the appropriate agencies to issue special permits, so that beekeepers may access their apiaries and work there, transport beekeeping apiaries for transhumance on pre-determined routes within the curfew conditions.’ – Avksenti Papava, the Director of the GBU. Up to eight hundred beekeepers have already used permits, who are now able to visit apiaries and carry out vital seasonal treatment and maintenance.  Bees are transported at night where possible, because they do not leave a hive during night, which the permit makes possible. ‘I have my apiaries located in the different regions for getting various types of honey. I was very happy to hear about special permit for beekeepers, as it is very active season in beekeeping. I am able to freely move to the locations and do not worry about time limitations’ – Kakhaber Zirakasvili, a beekeeper. Guidance and contact information on getting permits and the Covid-19 recommendations have been shared by the GBU on its facebook page. The Georgian Beekeepers Union (www.geobeekeepers.ge) is an umbrella association uniting ten beekeeping associations and three commercial beekeeping companies with more than four thousand Georgian beekeepers. It was established to represent their interests and to promote the health and development of the honey sector in Georgia with the facilitation of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project the Mercy Corps Georgia implemented Alliances Caucasus Programme (ALCP).
Kindness is Contagious
19/05/2020
In the midst of anxiety under the COVID-19, some people rise to the occasion when faced with adversity and it is uplifting to hear stories about them. As for many others it has been difficult times for the client businesses of the programme, but they have continued to help people most affected by the current crisis over the past two weeks.   Ten dairy enterprises with the Georgian Milk Mark www.georgianmilk.ge provided cheese for the medical staff of hospitals in the frontline of battling the virus as well as people under quarantine and locals in the lockdown areas in the different regions of Georgia, who have limited access to the markets. ‘It is now important to show support to each other. I was very happy to see reactions from people, who were very surprised and thankful. I think those GMM enterprises set very good example for others.’ – A GMM cheese distributor.   The Georgian Beekeepers Union (www.geobeekeepers.ge), uniting ten beekeeping associations and three commercial beekeeping companies supplied 1.2 tonnes of honey for further distribution among medical staff and vulnerable groups. The Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking group’s (programme facilitated honey aggregator and exporter company) forty-one rooms hotel-complex is being used as a quarantine zone, the company also supplied food to locals over seventy in two regions of Georgia within a social project ‘Care for Each Other’ initiated after the virus outbreak and is now offering online sales and a free home delivery of its products (wine, compotes, jams, including, honey); the company’s webpage Old Kakheti went online to improve online sales. These are a few examples and continuation of the kindness acts that started a month ago.
LATEST PUBLICATIONS
Covid-19 Guidance for Beekeepers
A Pragmatic Approach to Assessing System Change
FAO Bee Disease Guide