FERT: OUR SOLIDARITY COMMITMENTS IN 2022
Thanks to the donation from Fromi and the brand Xavier David, the cooperation with Fert already is already producing results in supporting the milk producers from Lesser Caucasus in Georgia.
The Lesser Caucasus is a region located in the South of Georgia where 64% of the population lives in a rural areas and dairy farming is omnipresent. The milk produced is mainly processed on the farms into cheese.
The goal of our cooperation with Fert (a French international cooperation for agricultural development) is to develop the dairy economy and to improve the livelihood of breeders. To support this project Fert locally collaborates with Ertoba (a farmers’ group) and the technician team of the GBDC (Georgian Business Development Center).
Video presenting the technical training provided by the GBDC during the summer in 20 villages (in partnership with the SQIL programme – Safety Quality)
FERT supports the Georgian farmers with two main objectives: on the first hand the improvement of the milk quality and on the second hand the support to the dairy processing and the commercialisation of quality cheeses.
Farmers were made aware of several topics about animal fodder: autonomous fodder production, soil fertility and advice on ration balance. These topics are particularly relevant in a context of fodder shortages and rising raw material costs. In May, technicians and farmers received a special but very serious training thanks to the “Plant your pants” operation. To see how their soils live, they planted pants in mid-June to observe their degradation after 3 months. They were able to see the difference in the way they were threatening their own soils and discuss to understand the impact of their respective practices. Still with the aim of fertilisation, green manures were planted to enrich the soil.
Ertoba, the local farmers’ association with which Fert is a partner, which means “Unity” in Georgian, was created in 2015 on the initiative of 11 dairy farmers. However, this producers’ organisation is not very common in Georgia. Indeed, since the end of the USSR, farmers have been reluctant to group together, tested by the experience of the kolkhozes. Ertoba now has 137 members. On this occasion, the farmers took part in a workshop on fodder autonomy. Still about animal fodder, a group of farmers was trained in the production of quality hay. Last December, the Hay Olympiad took place, where each farmer brought the benefits of his own work.
Regarding cheese processing and commercialisation, a great deal of support and work was carried out during the year. The farmers worked on improving the quality of the milk, including the acquisition of quality control equipment. To encourage producers to work on quality issues, the Derzeli cooperative has introduced a quality payment since October. To this end, training courses on good hygiene practices at the milking plant have been held. Further training is planned. The first results are conclusive: healthy milk arrives at the dairy, the cheese yield has increased, and the farmers are motivated!
On the technical side, farmers have received advice on maturing techniques. In Toloshi, a farmer was assisted by Fert and the GBDC technical team in the construction of a maturing cellar. Thanks to this cellar, he can differentiate himself from other Georgian cheeses.
Tenili, a traditional pasta-filata cheese, is currently the subject of work on a quality label. As part of the reflection on the recognition and promotion of Tenili cheese, producers in the village of Djobareti are planning to develop agro-tourism activities linked to cheese production and the renovation of the traditional built heritage. A PGI was recognised in 2012 at the national level for Tenili cheese, but there is still a desire to strengthen the specifications describing the precise recipe for this cheese while respecting traditions.
XAVIER DAVID cheeses are products that allow concrete help in the world. Since 2009, 0,25 € per kg of cheese sold have been donated to our NGO partners.
We would already like to thank all our customers, as it is thanks to you that this project will be able to be fulfilled!