Training is a key component in closing the technology gap in Georgian agriculture. Theoretical training and practical application and demonstration of the taught technologies are necessary to influence farmers to adopt the new technologies. Training is also a useful tool to improve the management capacity of those persons charged with the responsibility to deliver the goods and services required to improve the quality and quantity of agricultural outputs. Agro-Service Association (ASA) has been identified as the prime agricultural training organization. Therefore, it was deemed necessary to evaluate ASA to ascertain that it can indeed deliver the required training, which will assure that applicable EPI objectives are met.
A recent initiative funded through the USAID-funded Economic Prosperity Initiative (EPI) resulted in a thorough assessment of the Farm Service Centers (FSC’s) recently created in part through the assistance of the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) program. That study also included an evaluation of the supply and demand of agricultural inputs, i.e., seed, fertilizer, pesticides, machinery services, technology, and affordable credit. As a result, recommendations were made that called for the ASA to step up its training programs to close a perceived technology gap. Those were to develop and deliver financial management and marketing/sales training programs for FSC managers, accountants, and key sales personnel; intensify farmer training specifically applicable to USAID-EPI target crops; and coordinate a countrywide effort to establish well designed, conveniently located
demonstration plots that promote and exhibit the technologies used to produce the identified crops.
By taking a more robust role in supporting EPI objectives, some of the new activities could challenge ASA’s capabilities and, therefore, it was deemed necessary to reevaluate the organization’s capabilities and, if needed, identify ways to strengthen the association.