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Alliances Caucasus Programme at a Glance

The Alliances programme, working in the livestock market system in Georgia, funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), implemented by Mercy Corps Georgia and run in strict accordance with the M4P (Making Markets Working for the Poor Approach began in 2008 in Samstkhe Javakheti (SJ), Georgia. Alliances Kvemo Kartli (KK) was opened in 2011 with a second phase awarded to SJ. 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 ‘standby phase’ (monitoring and sustainability phase) in SJ to form the Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme (ALCP). From 2014 under the ALCP, Alliances management, programming and operations were fully harmonized.  The programme has achieved substantial scale and systemic change  well beyond the initial designated programme areas and targets and devoted itself to learning, excellence and participation in a global community of practice in Market Systems Development (MSD) including being successfully audited by the DCED Standard for Results Measurement (Donor Committee for Enterprise Development). It has furthered learning and practice in Women’s Economic Empowerment and harnessed market systems programming to generate significant impact in transversal themes.

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 forms the basis for the proposed four year Alliances Caucasus Programme (ALCP) 2017-2021, which will utilize 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 will facilitate interventions in the livestock and honey market systems to safeguard ongoing sustainable growth, and promote new growth that includes ensuring access for SME’s and livestock and honey producers to cross border and other export markets.  It will also exploit 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 will be key indicators of impact.

Evidence and Impact from which to Build the Regional Programme - from 2008 to April 2017

Aggregated Figures for All Intervention from 2008 to 2017 Key Behaviour Changes Captured by ALCP Qualitative Monitoring

Moving Forward: Sheep SectorChallenges Discussed at the ALCP Advisory Committee Meeting
Management of Animal Movement Route (AMR) and Bio Security Points (BSPs) were the main topics discussed at the ALCP’s 9th Advisory Committee meeting on January 31st, 2018. The Minister of Agriculture highlighted the importance of AMR and its Bio Security Points, their importance in underpinning  animal healthcare and livestock export and the need for continued efforts to ensure progress in his opening speech. ‘Despite the positive dynamics there are still challenges and the governmental, non-governmental and private sectors should consolidate to overcome them’ - stated Mr. Davitashvili. Existing gaps in management as well as the positive impact of BSPs were highlighted  at the meeting.  A short film: What shepherds think about the BSP’s available at ALCP/Videos allowed shepherds views to be presented in full. All participants debated responsibility for managing the AMR and its infrastructure. Land overlaps, lack of resting areas, watering points at the Route, issues of concern for decades - were also discussed. ‘I think inclusion of self-governments in provision of BSPs’ operation is quite possible, local residents can be hired there and I’m ready to discuss this issue with the heads of local municipalities of Kvemo Kartli” - Grigol Nemsadze - The State Representative-Governor of KK Region. As a result of this meeting the Regional Government of Kvemo Kartli and the Ministry of Economy have agreed to work together for final resolution of contested land on the route. Existing infrastructural gaps at BSP’s will be also solved in time for spring season, stated  the Head of the NFA. With regards to BSP’s management and its future ownership the issue is clearly on the table for further facilitation and discussion with all interested parties to find the best solution and develop pertinent strategy going forward.
Jara Popularity Spreads
On December 5th  the National Geographic Magazine Georgia presented its latest  edition which features an article on Jara honey, at the National Museum of Georgia. About hundred guests tasted Jara honey  and watched a special screening of  the Jara movie, which had originally inspired the Georgian National Geographic to do the Georgian bee and honey story. ‘We were thinking about doing an article on Georgian Bees and honey, but we were not certain what direction to choose. One day, I got a call from Nika Tsiklauri, who invited me to the Jara premiere and while watching this truly fairytale, – I discovered the storyline we had been looking for’. – Natia Khuluzauri, Editor in Chief of the National Geographic Magazine Georgia. The movie Director, Nika Tsiklauri, did a photo session of the Jara hives in Ajara. The magazine story writer, Irakli Pipia, enthusiastically worked on the topic and in addition came across documentation that showed that the Caucasian Gray Bees had been exported to the USA from Georgia atthe end of the 19th century. ‘This was a discovery none of us expected. Who knew that the Caucasian Bee had travelled so far? So, both authors, Nika and Irakli, did a great job and we have this beautiful elaborated story covering practically all aspects related to the Caucasian Gray Bee and honey they make’ – says Natia. The event opened an exhibition of photos, Jara hives and beekeeping artifacts from Ajara. The Ajarian Beekeepers Business Association gave attendees a unique opportunity to taste recently harvested Jara wild honey from its members and personally explore traditional Jara hives and beekeeping handicrafts. Photo Source: The National Geographic Georgia 
New Bio Security Point in Kvareli Opened
A new Bio Security Point (BSP) has been opened by the Minister of Agriculture of Georgia on in Kakheti, Telavi municipality. It is the fifth point now open on the  Animal Movement Route along with the BSP’s in Marneuli, Rustavi, Dedoplistskaro and Signagi municipalities and the third point built by the government in addition to the two points built under the ALCP as part of the activities agreed between the government and the project. ‘We are conducting complex works for supporting sheep and cattle sector development and one of the most important components of this work are identification &registration of official Animal Movement Route and a proper management of it. We now have five BSP and this helps us to manage the movement of the livestock and their health control’ Mr. Davitashvili stated.
BS Report Georgia & Armenia 2018
Alliances Caucasus Programme Bi Annual Report 2017
Ensuring Sustainability in the Dairy Market Sector 2017