FED Activity Highlights: August 2014

Food and Enterprise Development (FED) Activity Highlights for August 1-15, 2014:

  • The Doumpah-based rice business hub, operated by the God to Man farming group in Nimba County, sold 10 50-kg bags of milled rice to the surrounding communities. The rice came from the group’s FED-supported farm. The availability of rice processing services has helped the community increase reliance on local food sources.
  • Vegetable farmers from the United Farmers Association (UFA) received a second loan of $500,000 LD through the facilitation of FED from local micro finance institution, Liberian Entrepreneurial and Asset Development (LEAD). UFA is expected to repay the loan in 6 months
  • USAID FED conducted germination tests on new hybrid vegetable varieties intended for the FY15 project beneficiaries. The seeds with minimum of 85% germination rate are under trial at the Mawah cluster in Mount Barclay to ascertain among other things, pest and disease resistance and yield potential. Vegetable seeds include chili, okra, watermelon, cabbage, lettuce and bitterball.
  • USAID FED submitted a recording for the pilot program, “On the Farm” to UNMIL radio. This program is a 30 minute radio show focusing on agriculture and will air twice a month. The first program, which will be aired later in the month, discusses improved technologies for lowland rice, the National Diploma in Agriculture, and vegetable storage issues at Red Light market.
  • USAID FED signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nimba County Community College (NCCC). Under the agreement, USAID FED will provide agricultural inputs and technical support to NCCC’s farm development program. The MOU holds NCCC accountable to managing the farming enterprises, including provision of personnel.
  • USAID FED-supported Community Animal Health Workers (CAHW) tagged the ears of 24 does in Grand Bassa County. This is for the purpose of tracking the performance of each doe and selection of good breeders.
  • USAID FED completed 40 goat shelters across the four counties (Nimba 30; Bong 6; Lofa 3; and Grand Bassa 1).
  • A total of 137 kids (67 male, 70 female) were born to herds of USAID FED-supported goat farmers in 16 communities in Bong and Grand Bassa counties. In Bong, 123 kids were born to FED goat farmer-beneficiaries in 13 communities, while 14 kids were born in 3 communities of Grand Bassa County.
  • In Bong a total of $ 8,560 USD was generated from the sale of 107 goats (63 male, 44 female), while a total of $ 305 USD was generated in Grand Bassa from the sale of 5 goats (3 male, 2 female).

PRADD II Snapshot: How to Capture 100 Tons of Illicit Gold Leaving West Africa? Look at Diamonds

PRADD II staff and partners discussing lessons learned from diamonds for the gold sector

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) employs 100 million people worldwide and accounts for around 20% of both gold and diamond production.

In West Africa, ASM employs millions, but minerals are often sold through transnational criminal network.

“Each year we lose at least 100 tons of gold in West Africa,” said the Mining Minister from the Republic of Niger, speaking at a Regional Conference on Best Practice for the Sustainable Development of ASM. “That is worth $4 billion.”

Because of risks of terrorist financing and money-laundering, West Africa has been increasingly on the radar of international NGOS and governments.

The conference, initiated by USAID and EU-funded project Property Rights & Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD II), was the first event of its kind in West Africa.

It focused not just on shared problems but ways to harness small-scale mining for growth.

“Small-scale mining is good for the health of our sub-region,” said Tony Aubyn, Ghana’s Director of Mineral Resources. “It provides jobs and development, but we must do it right.”

Aubuynn and over 200 participants from 200 countries shared experiences and advice, focusing on the need to look at the full supply chain and not just diggers, formalize the activity instead of repress it, and promote win-win solutions so that large-scale and small-scale mining can coexist.

“Even if we employ the entire army and police, we will not be able to put it under control with force alone,” said Stephen Dorbor, Vice Minister of Mines from Liberia.

Industrial mining companies, such as majors like American company Newmont, also participated and shared their challenges with ASM.

PRADD II Snapshot: Lessons from Diamond Country Inform Law Creating New Rural Land Agency

In August 2016, the President of Côte d’Ivoire signed a decree creating a new rural land management agency. For USAID’s Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD II) project, seeing its policy recommendations accepted in the final law was gratifying.

USAID was able to influence the law establishing the new agency by drawing upon lessons from its two years’ experience implementing a rural land law in Côte d’Ivoire’s diamond mining areas. The PRADD II team used a position statement based on these experiences to develop talking points for various forums with civil society and government. These points and experiences caught the attention of decision-makers, and PRADD II then was invited to contribute.

“The project’s observations were very helpful and welcome,” said Delbe Constant, the Director of Rural Land.

Six PRADD II suggestions were included in the final document. For example, the project suggested that the agency help formalize and secure land for all users, not just farmers. In addition, PRADD II suggested that the agency have a mandate for enhancing local coordination and participation, as well as a mandate to collect and organize geographical data beyond just a cadaster of land certificates and land titles.

These recommendations will help create the space for the agency to be more nimble and inclusive, and will increase the chances that Côte d’Ivoire’s complex framework for formalizing rural land will in fact be achieved in the near future.


PRADD II Snapshot: Central African Republic Peace Builders in Diamond Mining Areas Poised for Action

Newly appointed LCPR members receive advice on how to map out the dynamics and root causes of conflict in diamond mining communities (Photo: Zéphirin Mogba).

Southwestern Central African Republic is a lightly populated part of the country, but under the rich forests and plains lies much wealth – diamonds and gold arduously dug by hand out of alluvial deposits by thousands of artisanal and small-scale miners. The pull of diamond and gold digging has long drawn migrant workers into the area, not only from within CAR, but from other countries throughout West and Central Africa. The region has become a hotly contested place and has suffered rebel incursions affecting the country since 2013. Massacres and pillage have destroyed much of the social fabric that once held together rural and urban communities in solidarity and mutual respect. People have fled to neighboring countries and to internally displaced persons camps, especially the Muslim traders and shopkeepers so important to commercial life in diamond and gold mining areas of the southwest.

With the return of a fragile peace to the southwest, the USAID Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) II project is working closely with the Ministry of Mines and Geology and the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and National Reconciliation to expand an approach towards peace and reconciliation. This approach has been tested successfully in the capital city of Bangui, but not yet in rural areas. The project is assisting the national reconciliation department to set up Local Committees of Peace and Reconciliation (LCPR) in the Berberati prefecture, a vast region already meeting the requirements of the Kimberley Process for commercialization and exports of diamonds.

Through the support of PRADD II, staff from the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and National Reconciliation worked closely with the mining communities of Balégo, Yamalé, Bania, Nandobo, Wapo and Nassolé to select 42 highly respected representatives to become promoters of peace in their communities through a transparent and democratic process.

PRADD II and the Ministry recently held a three-day long workshop in Berberati with the newly selected LCPR members to map out the types and root causes of the social cleavages that are hindering the return of stability and social cohesion in these diamond mining communities.

By coming together to share experiences and perspectives, these leaders are developing a common vision for the restoration of peace and cohesiveness that exemplified in the past how peoples of many different cultures, religions, and livelihoods were able to live together harmoniously. “We tried to do our own proper introspection,” declared Pierre W., a member of the community of Yamalé, who identified a long litany of causes of conflict, including “the lack of solidarity, intolerance, settling of old scores, discrimination, theft, jealousy, armed threats, lying, the absence of dialogue, the absence of mediation, witchcraft, political conflict, ethnic and religious conflict, poverty, lack of civic engagement and lack of awareness.”

In the coming months, the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and National Reconciliation, along with PRADD II, will provide training in conflict management and mediation to these LCPR representatives. The Director of National Reconciliation, Ms. Nafissatou Yaouhoumbi noted that, “peace building mediators often fail in their mission because they are not equipped with the proper tools. Thus, in strengthening the capacity of the LCPR members with well-defined tools, we are certain that peace building campaigns at the local level will be well accepted by the population.” In the workshop, the LCPR identified their skills training needs: mediation and the prevention of conflicts; techniques to promote community acceptance of peace building and non-violence; ways to fight discrimination based on ethnicity, religion and gender; tools for organizing community dialogue; ways to encourage tolerance and community respect; and ways to identify projects that can build community solidarity.

The PRADD II project will assist the Ministry to bring together expertise in the Central African Republic to develop and carry out training modules for the LCPR around these themes. The path toward lasting peace is not straight forward nor without unexpected obstacles. However, much valuable experience can be drawn from the previous social cohesion initiatives of non-governmental and international peace building missions in the Central African Republic. Harnessing that knowledge and directing it towards this new pilot initiative will aid the Ministry in constructing the building blocks of a lasting peace in diamond mining areas of the country.

PRADD II Snapshot: Institutional Strengthening

PSKP Framework Workshop, Bangui (Photo: Regis Norguez Ndaket)

To stem the flow of conflict diamonds, the Central African Republic (CAR) established the Permanent Secretary of the Kimberley Process (PSKP). Charged with meeting Kimberley Process (KP) compliance requirements, the PSKP has been operating since 2003 in the absence of an adequate legal and operational framework.

At the request of the Permanent Secretary of the Kimberley Process , the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD II) is assisting the Secretary and the Ministry of Mines to address these gaps. The Ministry of Mines demonstrated its commitment by establishing a committee to set up the legal and institution framework of the PSKP. Encouraged by this effort, PRADD II invited an internationally renowned expert from the Democratic Republic of Congo , Maurice Miema, to propose an organizational structure and provide guidance on traceability issues.

Drawing upon a comparative study of how the Kimberley Process is implemented in other countries, Miema outlined proven, practical steps for the PSKP to fulfill its mission by preparing a Traceability Procedures Manual. This manual specifies the steps required to gather diamond production and sales data; register artisanal miners; identify artisanal mining sites; trace diamonds from mine sites to export; and share information. The Minister of Mines, the PSKP, and the Director of General Mines validated the manual and the proposed legal framework during a two-day consultative workshop in Bangui in December 2016.

The Permanent Secretary of the Kimberley Process in CAR heralded the effort. “Finally, we have become strong with these texts.” The Director General of Mines underscored the importance of the leadership role of Central African authorities in codifying and enacting the recommended changes: “The Ministry of Mines has an obligation to review the mining regulations as a basis for institutional reforms, as well as assure a devolution of power and capacity to the different structures working in the framework of the implementation of the Certification System of the Central Process Kimberly in the CAR.”

PRADD II Snapshot: Life Stories from the Central African Republic

Young collectors meeting at the Mayor of Guen’s home

The PRADD II project returned to the Central African Republic in January 2016 thanks to support from USAID Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) intended to contribute to the return of peace and stability in diamond mining communities– the foundation of the war-torn national economy and the source of employment for thousands of diamond miners. During terrible civil strife from 2012-2014, rebel forces took over many diamond mining sites and used proceeds from illegal diamond export to finance purchases of arms and ammunition. For many years, no one visited diamond mining areas to assess the impact of the war, but with the return of the PRADD II project, the project carried out a month long diagnostic of how the diamond economy has evolved over the years and identified ways to return diamond mining areas to the peace and security once known.

Let’s listen to the tales of these key actors– people who suffered greatly, yet in some cases, perversely gained from the effects of war, but who are all looking forward to returning to the legitimate export of diamonds under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. These vignettes recounted to the PRADD II research team provide a glimpse into the complexities of bringing the country back to greater peace and security. Diamond for peace is the project mantra:

“My name is Ali Babolo. I’ve been working in diamond section for the past twenty years. I’m a Muslim diamond mining collector living as a refugee at the Catholic Church compound with my family. I so much want to return home, but my wish as well is to meet the new government officials after these recent elections to explain to them our suffering. I’d like to tell them this. There is not enough security in the diamond mining areas to guarantee my welfare. I’ve lived for two years here at the Catholic Church next to my Muslim brothers. I’ve lost a lot of equipment during this crisis — water pumps, bulldozers, my home in Yawa, and all my personal effects. Peace and security must return to diamond mining areas. But, I want to say this. There are no longer good relations between diamond collectors and the diamond houses like in the past (licensed diamond exporters). Well before the recent crisis, the diamond houses directly financed mining. Before, more than 800 collectors were financed by the diamond houses. Today, the number is much less as many are bankrupt and in debt.

Diamond mining activities have dropped off so much since the military and political crisis affecting the entire southwest. Circuits of fraud channel diamonds to Cameroon and Congo. The government needs to tighten things up because right now diamond mining and exports are opened up to anyone. There is too much smuggling and corruption in the mining area of Carnot. It’s up to the State and its partners to reinforce social cohesion and the legitimate relations between diamond diggers, us the diamond collectors, and the diamond export houses.”

For a different perspective, let’s listen to the stories of young diamond collectors, often the non-Muslim faith. These young people filled the gap left by Muslim diamond traders forced to flee during the war to safe havens, either in church yards or displaced peoples settlement camps in Cameroon:

“We are young diamond collectors between 27 to 36 years of age. We each have several wives and between 2-8 children to take care of. We buy and sell diamonds, but we also invest in stores selling motorcycles and car parts, build modern houses, and own motorcycle taxi services. We finance directly teams of diamond miners. We bought the new diamond collector license for 680,000 CFA (about $1,100).

We started our professional lives as simple owners of diamond mining claims and we hired workers. We benefited from the financial support of Muslim collectors and we learned much from the financial support of Muslim collectors and we learned much from them on how to organize diamond digging and buying and selling diamonds. We have attained our current status around 2015 after the war. Today, we carry out diamond trading once occupied by Muslim collectors. We are proud of our successes. We hope that the Central African Republican will return to peace and security because our livelihoods depend on this. We would like assistance from government to learn more about how to manage our finances. We would look forward to organizing ourselves better as diamond collectors.”

The PRADD II team in the Central African Republic builds strong trust with actors throughout the diamond mining sector. Through the recent one month long field diagnostic, the PRADD team met many people like those interviewed for this story. Passionate and insightful suggestions are often spelled out about how government, civil society and donor organization can contribute to rebuilding the synergistic relations that long existed in the diamond economy categories. But, times have changed. Dynamic youth have now filled the space left by the elder Muslim diamond traders. Returning the past may not work in a society fractured by the effects of the war.


PRADD II Snapshot: Improved Economic and Environmental Outcomes Through Smarter Mining Techniques in Guinea

Traditional pitting mining method

Artisanal diamond mining in Guinea often occurs in areas critical for agriculture: along floodplains, valleys, swamps, and river flats. Miners in Guinea have historically extracted diamonds by pitting, a technique which is extremely harmful to the environment. After the pitting method is employed, the land is no longer productive, resulting in a loss of crops for food and sale. PRADD II introduced SMARTER Mining (Sustainable Mining by Artisanal Miners) to Guinea, building on experience in Liberia and the Central African Republican. SMARTER mining is a technique which provides for a far better and safer way to mine.

The traditional method of pitting involves digging with shovels, axes, machetes, sieves and hand jigs down to the gravel layers, located at depths of up to six meters. The removed material is then washed to search for diamonds, leaving behind sterile gravel which remains in unproductive heaps around the pits many years after activities cease. Although land restoration is required by law, the pitting technique does not include restoration of mining sites. Furthermore, the pitting process washes away fertile top soil, and neither government officials nor customary landowners had been able to bring the land back to productivity. In addition to the unproductive gravel heaps left behind, the pitting process leaves large pits which are an environmental health hazard. These pits are breeding sites for mosquitoes and lead to the spread of other diseases, threatening both humans and livestock. Finally, miners who employ this traditional method of pitting can only access about 65% of the gravel in a pit compared to 90% with SMARTER mining.

SMARTER mining is a bench terracing technique that simultaneously digs and refills the pit. First, the miner removes and sets the rich topsoil. Then, a series of 2-3 meter trenches are dug, first removing the overburden (the layer below the top soil and above the gravel) and finally the gravel itself. As a new trench is dug, the previous trench is filled with the overburden from the current trench. In some cases, washed gravel is mixed with the overburden to ensure that the trench is sufficiently refilled. Once the entire site has been dug in this manner, the topsoil is carefully replaced, restoring the site for productive use and farming can resume almost immediately. Furthermore, in areas where the method has been used, native plant species recolonize very quickly and since the pits are refilled, the environmental health hazard is reduced and there are no piles of sterile material.

Alongside the environmental and public health benefits, SMARTER mining is advantageous for miners to increase both their safety and diamond yield. In contrast to pitting, SMARTER mining allows miners to access and wash about 90% of the gravel. Furthermore, the process is less labor intensive and it improves the structural integrity of the pit, increasing the pit stability and reducing the risk of collapse.

Recently, the PRADD team carried out training and field demonstrations of SMARTER mining in the villages of Gberedabon and Bouramaya. In Bouramaya, fifteen men dug to a depth of 4.5 meters, extracted the diamondiferous gravel, and refilled the site in a single day. In the past, it would have taken the team 7 days using traditional pitting techniques. The owner of the mining claim expressed surprise, for this rapid rate of extraction significantly lessens the costs of mining.Through a training of trainers approach in the nearby village of Gberadabon, 35 miners trained in this bench terracing will likely disseminate the technique even further in the Forécariah District and elsewhere in Guinea.

PRADD II Snapshot: Toward an Understanding of the Kimberley Process for Stakeholders of the Artisanal Mining Sector of Guinea

Participant at the KP training

To support the government of Guinea (GOG) to increase the volume of diamonds entering into the formal chain of custody, the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development Project (PRADD) II, in collaboration with the Kimberley Permanent Secretariat of Guinea, launched a series of training sessions on the Kimberley Process and its Certification Systems (KPCS). The first two sessions of this series were held on December 15—16, 2014 in Conakry for sixty (60) participants, including brokers, collectors, and diamond dealers and other influential members from the two unions working on diamonds and gold in Guinea (Union nationale des diamantaires et orpailleurs—UNADOR and Confédération nationale des diamantaires et orpailleurs de GuinéeCONADOG).Two modules were developed: 1) General Concepts of the KP and 2) The Internal Control System of the KP in Guinea. Each module was developed and presented in detailed themes (twelve themes in total) in French, followed by translations in local dialects (Mandingo, Soussou and Fulani). To help spread the word about the training sessions, leaders of the two unions invited the public and private media for coverage and covered all of their costs.

In response to an introductory question on whether anyone had previously heard of the KP, participants responded, “Yes,” but Ibrahima Kalil Diakité of UNADOR hurried to say, “We have heard of the Kimberley Process before but we have never received any training on the KP. That is the reason why some people confuse the Kimberley Process with Kimberlite”. Another participant followed up, “Do not confuse the Kimberley Process and Kimberlite, which is a rock. We are here to learn about the Kimberley Process.” To further highlight the lack of information about the KP and of communication with the Government and the actors, Seny Kaba of UNADOR added, “The state is not looking after us. There is no communication between the state and the socio-professional structures. This creates disorder in the ASM sector. That is the reason why everyone acts based on his/her own understanding of the rules and regulations, which is not normal”. Youssouf Diaby added, “We have the impression that the state is totally absent in the ASM sector. That is why the government does not make any effort. Fortunately for us the PRADD project has arrived. We hope that the project will facilitate establishing the link between us and the government”.

Along these lines, the expectations from the participants were diverse, including: better understanding of all of the aspects and principles of the KP and its certification system; clear understanding of the difference between the KP and Kimberlite; improved information and communication mechanisms with the Government; and broad technical and material support to the sector by the project.

At the end of the training sessions, participants were not shy in expressing their enthusiasm. Cheick Bandian Kourouma of UNADOR noted that “The project has taught us what the KP is about and what its importance is. We will be very proud to pass this knowledge to our other colleagues who did not attend this session.” Fodé Traoré of CONADOG said, “This is the best training session because understanding what the KP is about and respecting it are a warranty for our profession and for all of the artisanal miners.” Madame Salimatou Sall of UNADOR also added that “The lack of communication, information and training has impacted our understanding of the KP. From today, we will be able to comply with the rules of the KP, but we request support from the PRADD II project on this matter.”

Following the report about the training sessions broadcast on public and private TV stations, the Vice President of CONADOG called the Country Director to express his enthusiasm and great satisfaction for providing such training to his colleagues and associates. He noted that similar training sessions will greatly improve the collaboration between different actors of the diamond sector and enhance the information and communications between the actors of the sector and the government of Guinea. Not long after this phone call, the Head of the Precious Minerals Division at the Customs called the KP Focal Point to express his interest in participating in similar training sessions, which was already planned by the project anyway.

These first two training sessions underlined the importance of communication and information exchange between various actors involved in the artisanal mining sector. They also highlighted the need to review and strengthen the policy and institutional framework governing the ASM sector.

In the coming months, PRADD II is planning to review and readjust the training modules based on lessons learned from the first two sessions and to deliver trainings to various actors at the national and local levels, both in Conakry and the countryside.

EPI Investment Case Studies: Concluding Policy Paper

This paper provides a summary of findings and policy recommendation based on a series of eight case studies that document foreign direct investment in Georgia’s agriculture and food processing sectors. The investors are in a variety of industries, including grape and wine production, hazelnuts, poultry, cereals and medicinal herbs, pickled fruit and vegetables, and apple concentrate and aroma. Each study includes a detailed discussion of factors concerned with the general policy and business environment, such as protection of property rights, taxation, access to finance, land, labor and other production factors, the range and quality of suppliers and service provider networks, and quality of infrastructure. The analysis focuses on the strategies investors employed, and the effectiveness of those strategies, in dealing with shortcomings in the business enabling environment and other challenges they faced investing in Georgia.

The studies also look at the positive impact of these investments on the Georgian economy, examining qualitative benefits like job creation, workforce development, and the introduction of new products or processes (including technology spillovers) that might positively affect suppliers, competing agribusinesses, and smallholder farmers. The studies also look at how these investments affect the range and quality of products available to Georgian consumers, including substitution of imports. Addressed to both government and investors, the recommendations drawn from the case studies and summarized in this report are focused on addressing deficiencies in the business enabling environment and, for investors, strategies to overcome these deficiencies.

Given the significant positive contribution that foreign-capitalized and -managed agribusinesses make to Georgia’s economic development, current and proposed policies that damage the business investment climate should be reviewed and amended or repealed. This includes potentially excessive bureaucratization as part of the drive to approximate EU anti-trust legislation, labor market regulations and immigration laws. It also includes the moratorium on farmland purchase by foreign-invested entities and the seemingly arbitrary enforcement of visa restrictions upon existing farmland investors from abroad. Georgia has been attractive to foreign investors because of a relatively liberal regulatory and investment environment. For domestic and foreign investors to risk their capital in Georgia’s agricultural sector, the Georgian government should continue to support (and improve) a business friendly policy and enabling environment, including protection of investors’ property rights.

The eight case studies also offer numerous lessons learned for investors. Investors should seek reliable Georgian partners to help them navigate the environment. Recognizing the cost and pitfalls of early missteps with local populations, investors should perform rigorous due diligence to avoid conflicts with the community and proactively engage in targeted CSR and extension activities. Even with constructive outreach and engagement, investors should also invest in security and theft prevention. Finally, investors should invest in their human resources, both in terms of bringing the right expertise to bear on business challenges, but also in building up the capacities and capabilities of local staff. Not only will investors discover that they can unlock a great deal of potential in Georgian employees, but foreign investors increase their positive ties to the community.

EPI Investment Case Studies: Competitiveness of Georgian Agriculture – Landmark and Foodland

Jagpal Singh is a Canadian national, born and raised in Punjab State of India. Having taken interest in Ayurvedic medicine, Mr. Singh investigated growing medicinal herbs in Georgia, noting that much of the country’s climate was similar to Himachel Pradesh state in India. Operating in Georgia since 2009, Mr. Singh currently owns an Ayurvedic medicine store in Tbilisi and a number of businesses which seek to identify export commodities that can be grown cost-effectively in Georgia, to produce them on his own properties, and/or to contract Georgian farmers to grow them using the same technology.

In 2010, Mr. Singh registered Foodland Ltd. as his own landholding and agricultural production company in Shida Kartli, to farm licorice and other herbs. In 2012 he established Landmark Ltd. in Tsalka district, Kvemo Kartli. In the same year, encouraged by the Georgian National Investment Agency, Mr. Singh created Agricultural Investment and Development of Georgia LTD as a consulting firm servicing Indian investors in Georgian farmland.

At present, Foodland’s properties in Shida Kartli (a total of 95ha) are occupied by squatters. Landmark Ltd is currently engaging in trials of novel crops in Tsalka, and is yet to yet to turn a profit.

On the one hand, this case demonstrates the critical role of foreign investors in developing potentially lucrative production and processing of non-traditional crops such as Ayurvedic herbs. Mr. Singh’s concept of providing canola seed, lentil seed and training to farmers, and buying back the crop at harvest, is an interesting one with potential benefits for local farmers, improved national food security and enhanced exports. As Georgia’s oilseed production is negligible, with only one sunflower seed crushing plant in Kakheti and one soybean crushing plant in Poti, and no crush for canola or any other oilseed, innovative programs like those represented by Landmark Ltd in Tsalka could reduce Georgia’s reliance on imported staples like oil.

But the conflict surrounding Foodland Ltd activities has also attracted significant media attention and has done a great deal to impair investor confidence in the Georgian agricultural sector.

The lessons learned and recommendations related to this case fall into two categories: those concerning national and local government on the one hand and those concerning foreign investors on the other. We recommend that government maintain consistent and transparent long-term policies on foreign ownership of farmland and immigration, improve communications with the private sector regarding farm investment, improve co-ordination between national, regional and local governments regarding farmland privatization, establish guidelines for compensation of displaced grazers from public funds, disperse tax revenues generated in rural districts from commercial enterprises to local jurisdictions rather than remitting all taxes to national government, and to strengthen investor aftercare and supporting services.

Investors should take care to integrate Georgians into their permanent workforce, consider measured and culturally sensitive responses to conflict, to engage the local community before commencing operations, to manage the risks of theft prudently, and to fence their properties.