Supporting Small-scale Dairy Production

This contribution aims at improving economic empowerment and resilience of women dairy producers in Abkhazia and Samegrelo. The protracted conflict in Abkhazia impedes socio-economic development, leading to high poverty and vulnerability to external shocks, as COVID-19. Women are particularly vulnerable, as they are also victims of gender-based discrimination and domestic violence. Farmer Field Schools will empower women by enhancing their technical and leadership skills.

Paese/Regione Tema Periodo Budget
Impiego & sviluppo economico

Creazione di occupazione
Sviluppo delle piccole e medie imprese (PMI)
Violenza sessuale e di genere
01.10.2020 - 30.09.2024
CHF  3’360’000

The civil war and forced displacement from the breakaway region of Abkhazia in the early 90’s has trapped people in poverty for almost three decades. Since then, Samegrelo stands out with persistently high poverty rates due to high number of IDPs from Abkhazia. The protracted nature of conflict has hindered economic opportunities in both regions. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing social inequalities in both regions and posed risks to already fragile livelihoods.

Women are particularly hard hit as a result of COVID-19 crisis due to underlying vulnerabilities because of poverty and disempowerment. Nevertheless, women in Samegrelo and Abkhazia continue the tradition of small-scale dairy production, working hard to make ends meet. However, the existing dairy production practices are rudimentary, are not compliant with quality and hygiene standards and do not ensure access to markets. To this end, the Swiss cooperation has stepped in to support women in upgrading skills and knowledge in this field and with this, increase women’s resilience to handle outstanding crisis.


The project is a collaboration of FAO and UN Women for improving technical capacities of women dairy producers and for increasing women’s economic empowerment. FAO will provide technical support to upgrade everyday practices in dairy production, whereas UN Women will further enhance women’s capacities in tackling gender-related discrimination and improving their business leadership skills.

Overall, the project aims to enhance resilience of communities to overcome persistent poverty and to better respond to the economic downturn related to COVID-19 crisis.

Gruppi target
  1. Women dairy farmers and their male family members
  2. Extension service providers from the private and the public sectors
Effetti a medio termine

Outcome 1: Rural women improve their home made dairy products, with a focus on food safety through learning in Farmer Field Schools (FAO).

Outcome 2: Rural women engaged in dairy production acquire and use leadership, economic and social skills to be selfemployed and expand their income generation activities, while promoting gender equality (UN Women).


The project seeks to improve women’s know-how in dairy production through FAO methodology of Farmers Field Schools. This well-tested approach fosters peer to peer learning among farmers and promotes learning by doing. 40 Farmer field schools will be established in Abkhazia and Samegrelo, training up to 1’000 women dairy farmers in total. Market linkages will be facilitated to ensure sustainable source of income for beneficiaries. With the view to respond to the COVID-19 crisis that has heavily disrupted the distribution channels of input supplies, SDC will assist additional 2’000 vulnerable farmers with the procurement of agricultural inputs.

FAO will partner with UN Women to foster women’s resilience and economic empowerment through improving their business leadership skills and enhancing capacities to tackle gender-based discrimination. The tailored trainings in target communities will be organized to achieve these aims not only with women but also with men. UN Women will seek to transform discriminatory attitudes and beliefs among men and with this, support more enabling environment for gender equality in communities. With the view to improve institutional settings, number of advocacy activities will be organized by UN Women supporting women’s groups to lobby for women-friendly policies and practices.


Risultati principali attesi:  

  • 40 farmer fields schools will be established in Samegrelo and Abkhazia, training up to 1’000 women in food safety and hygiene standards for better dairy production
  • Women’s empowerment and resilience will be increased in target communities

  • Response to COVID-19 crisis will be provided by distributing input supplies among 2’000 farmers for ensuring agricultural activities are not disrupted and food security is not jeopardized.



Risultati fasi precedenti:   N/A

Direzione/Ufficio responsabile DSC
Credito Cooperazione con l'Europa dell'Est
Partner del progetto Partner contrattuale
Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite (ONU)
  • Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'alimentazione e l'agricoltura

Altri partner
FAO will be the managing partner, responsible for the project implementation with a subcontract with UN Women
Coordinamento con altri progetti e attori

This contribution funds part of a broader program regrouping several components/projects in Western Georgia (see annex 3-6), such as: FAO projects enhancing resilience of farmers (funded by USAID and EU) and UNW project for women’s economic empowerment (by Norway)

There are also synergies with other projects and actors, such as the ALCP (funded by SDC and ADA), UNW’s project Addressing Violence against Women and Girls in Abkhazia (by the Human Security Division) and the Bureau of Populations, Refugees and Migration (US State Department).

Budget Fase in corso Budget Svizzera CHF    3’360’000 Budget svizzero attualmente già speso CHF    2’676’104
Fasi del progetto Fase 1 01.10.2020 - 30.09.2024   (Fase in corso)