Training Initiative for Young Farmers

FinExCoop has been piloting innovative initiatives and the general logic behind these interventions are linked to the promotion of micro clusters of higher capacity in its pilot development platforms. Contributing to sustainable agrarian development, these innovative approaches could be replicated then after by other stakeholders in Georgia.

FinExCoop plays a leading catalyst role in putting on track high-quality professional learning-by-doing exchanges, first with France for which it has identified an array of local partners, and then with other EU countries. The FinExCoop project has set up twinning agreements through which approached European Agrarian universities and research centres for connecting them with their Georgian counterparts. The project has also mobilized European students in pilot integrated value chain development platforms and supported in building their linkages with young Georgian farmers. To mobilize these students, FinExCoop has intensively cooperated with the French Georgian University. The Georgian Technical University pre-selected and proposed Georgian trainees both from its faculty of agro-processing (dairy processing) and faculty of agricultural mechanization. Both French and Georgian students were examined based on predefined criteria. As per the concept note which was approved by the FinExCoop Committee for Pilots, the FinExCoop had to identify, pre-select and propose to the AFD 13 candidates who could potentially go to France for up to 3 months to generate technical knowledge and experience in the most practical way, learning-by-doing.

FinExCoop established a Candidate Selection Committee to identify these candidates and chose the students based on carefully defined criteria. Afterwards, they identified candidates with the best score who after 3 months of training courses in France will sufficiently increase their technical know-how and therefore increase the knowledge of project pilot farmers which will make them more profitable. For example, the candidates who were chosen for cheese production have learnt technologies of French cheese production and now transferring this knowledge to the pilot farmers which will be able to bring new cheese products to the Georgian market. The Candidate Selection Committee also took into account the willingness of these candidates to not only work with one pilot but, if necessary, work with different pilots in different regions and made sure those candidates who are proposed are willing to help project pilot farmers across Georgia.

Within the framework of increasing the capacity of Georgian young farmers, FinExCoop has identified and selected 11 students out of which 10 Georgians have been sent to France to study in various value chains including Beef and Dairy (AI), Beef and Dairy (Meat), Beef and Dairy (Vet), Goat Milk, Agricultural Machinery, Milk Processing (Cheese Production) and Modern Apple Orchard. The project has also mobilized a student from Europe in a pilot integrated value chain development platform in Georgia.

In order to accelerate knowledge sharing in France and facilitate cultural interaction, the project has provided a French language course for the selected young students prior to their departure to France. The training, which was financed by the FinExCoop Georgia, was provided by French Institute in Georgia. For the convenience of attendance, the trainings were provided online for the students, so they could attend the lectures from France while in a French environment. The classes lasted for two months to provide trainees with basic French language lessons to be able to have an introductory level of French.

About Us

The 4-year FinExCoop Georgia project is funded by the European Union (EU) under the NIF Programme Trust Fund. Even though it is not stricto sensu an ENPARD project, it is fully coordinated with the ENPARD programme in Georgia. FinExCoop is managed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and it is implemented by a consortium led by the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, in partnership with Chambre d’Agriculture du Loiret, Mercy Corps and Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG).

Through its subsidiary Proparco, AFD also provides credit lines for agriculture to two local financial institutions, Credo Bank and Microfinance Institution Crystal. The main objective of FinExCoop Georgia is to promote the sustainable emergence of a new generation of small and medium-scale family farm entrepreneurs able to be competitive thanks to improved access to credit and other financial services including insurance (Fin like Finance); higher productivity linked to better technical knowledge and appropriate use of better inputs and equipment (Ex like Extension); and their participation in market-oriented cooperatives or any other entities fostering their coordination in order to improve their access to inputs and equipment, to consolidate their output, and increase its value through better storage, processing and marketing (Coop like Cooperatives).

About host companies in France

FinExCoop has worked intensively to identify and build cooperation with companies and farms in France which will be ready to host trainees of the initiative. FinExCoop build relationships and organised meetings with host companies and farms to explain the aim of the traineeship, financial and practical conditions and to obtain the agreement of traineeship supervisors.

As a result of this coordination, the following companies and farms have received the selected students from Georgia in France:

  • For cheese processing: Fromagerie de la Durance, Coopérative laitière des Alpes du Sud, Fromagerie Ebrard
  • For machinery: Guyonnet.
  • For artificial insemination: Connexyon, Sommet de l’Elevage
  • For apple orchards: Dalival

“Fromagerie de la Durance” Jerome Tramuset was created in January 2002 by Mr Ramon Caballe and in 2016 his daughter Christelle Alberge continued to run the company by partnering with a cheese maker, Jérôme Tramuset. This cheese maker producer uses an artisanal method with three kinds of raw milk (cow, goat, sheep) collected from milk producers in the department of Hautes-Alpes in four product families. Jerome Tramuset has also hosted and trained one Georgian trainee in the cheese processing field.

“Cooperative laitière des Alpes du Sud” located in Eyglier near Guillestre (Hautes-Alpes) has been in operation for 19 years. It specialises in the activity sector of producing fresh products and cheese. They were very open to welcoming one trainee from Georgia. Moreover, it will be possible to accommodate in the same place the trainee from both milk factories which are close to each other. Training by doing included technical knowledge of cheese making process, advanced engineering and biotechnology in cheese preparation, cheese maturation in caves and cheese ripening. The young food technologist Nino Mgebrishvili learned about cheese processing directly from experts by observing and involving in cheese making on a daily basis during her stay in the cooperative.

“Fromagerie Ebrard” has been making artisanal cheeses from cow, goat and sheep milk from the Champsaur Valley since the end of the 19th century. Then, in the 2000s, the production of yoghurts and flans broadened the range of products.

Today, two generations work in the company and together develop a wide variety of products, such as plain, flavoured, fruit yoghurts, flans, soft cheeses, pressed cheeses, cooked cheeses, blue-veined, raclette cheeses, mixed two and three milk cheeses, cheeses with a washed rind or rubbed with genepi, larch blossom. They hosted a Georgian trainee and shared their long-rich knowledge and experience in the field of cheese production and processing.

“Guyonnet” is a company focused on machinery service provision. The company was created in 1992 with the idea of providing great customer service. They are located in Saône-et-Loire. The company offers its customers a range of high-performance products, accessible to all and with innovative edge solutions. Among others, they provide machinery services for French farmers and hosted one young Georgian trainee who benefited from their agricultural mechanization expertise.

“Connexyon” The CECNA (Central North and Aube Breeding Cooperative), which originated with the initial name Centre North Breeding Cooperative in 1946, was one of the first insemination cooperatives in France.

Focusing on bovine activity in its infancy, it had 40 inseminators making 148,000 primary artificial inseminations in the 1970s. While their bovine activities diversified with ultrasounds and synchronization heats in 1983, reproduction was added to the activities in 2006. In December 2020, the CECNA was merged with Allice to form Connexyon with the aim of connecting people, know-how, resources and means for the benefit of providing better services to their farmers.

Today, Connexyon strives for the excellence of the breeders of tomorrow, imagining services and products that are more efficient, more effective and at the same time more autonomous in their operations. This is a company on a human scale that conveys meaning and proximity to all who contributed to building and developing its activities. They hosted one Georgian trainee and shared their innovation and experience in the field of artificial inseminations.


“Sommet de l’Elevage” was born out of international cooperation aiming at promoting quality animal reproduction and at the service of those involved in breeding, through modern and innovative tools. The company committed to host and train three Georgian trainees. The target of their training was focused on providing trainees with sufficient technical knowledge to practice artificial insemination when they will be back in Georgia. Hence, in this way, the company aim to contribute to sustainable capacity building among the project’s pilot farmers in the field of artificial insemination.


“Dalival”, which specialises in apple, pear and stone fruit trees, is considered a global leader in the licensing and nurseries of pip and stone fruit Darnaud. The company has a multi-specialist profile of breeder, researcher, licensor, nursery, producer and marketer. The company has 112 hectares of production orchards and they hosted one Georgian trainee. The FinExCoop trainee learned first-hand experience on the installation of irrigation systems, cutting and forming of seedlings, pest treatment, binding systems and many more skills that are initial for orchard management.

Marc Lancien, who is a FinExCoop project expert in the frame of orchard management and a professor in a French orchard school, also contributed to hosting and training 2 Georgian trainees in France. The training programme included information about how to manage phytosanitary diseases, thin apple orchards, do summer pruning, utilize chemicals and improve apple orchard production. Both theoretical training in the classroom and practical part in the field improved the confidence and skills of the trainees to foster their knowledge. As a result of these efforts and experience exchanges, 2 Georgian young farmers who have been trained continue their work with pilots with the FinExCoop project and the rest apply their technical knowledge and experience on their own in their respective value chains.

About the Trainees

Within the scope of the Training Pilot Programme, 11 young Georgian farmers were sent to France to get technical training and experience in their specific agronomic field of operations.

Below please find the short interviews of the young Georgian students who share their experience of being trained in France and how they are going to apply their knowledge and learned skills in the project’s pilots to ensure effective knowledge transfer and sustainable capacity building among pilot farmers.

➢ Gvantsa Bejinashvili

Gvantsa is from Tbilisi, Georgia. She deeply cares about animals and would like to improve cattle breeding in her country. She is executing the position of Junior Expert in the FinExCoop project. She is also pursuing her PhD degree in animal science at the Agricultural University of Georgia. She has taken practical training in Artificial Insemination in Burgundy, Ron Alpes. Her PhD studies include biotechnology methods in animal husbandry and reproduction. Through her experience in France, she has enhanced her knowledge and skills in artificial insemination and new breeds. She dreams about creating a French-Georgian breed in Georgia that will increase productivity and quality of meat and milk to benefit Georgian farmers.

➢ Giorgi Khuroshvili

Giorgi is from Shida Kartli Gori, Georgia. He is working as a Junior Expert and Agronomist in the FinExCoop and is currently working with the project’s pilots. He is also a bachelor’s student in agronomy at the Agriculture University of Georgia. He was trained in apple orchard management in the Loire region of France. The hosts appreciated his dedication and willingness to learn and therefore wanted him to stay in France longer. However, Giorgi is committed to developing the agriculture sector in Georgia and returned home to continue working with the project pilots and establish his apple orchard in Gori.

➢ Nino Tapatadze

Nino is from Adigeni, Georgia and now living in Tbilisi due to her studies. She has recently graduated from Georgian Technical University and Rennes University in France. She has trained in cheese processing in French Alpes and is proud to learn French cheese technology, which can be replicated in her homeland Georgia. She is looking forward to using her practical experience generated in France to support cheese processing in Georgia.

➢ Maradi Mikeladze

Maradi Mikeladze is from Adigeni. He is a farmer in the second generation. His father has a dairy farm and they also process milk into cheese. He went to France to learn about dairy processing and learned French technology for making yoghurt. He learned dairy processing in Fromagerie Ebrard in Chabottes (Hautes-Alpes). He is excited to be back in Georgia with valuable knowledge and apply it in their processing plant to make the best Georgian products with fresh Georgian milk from pastures.

➢ Giorgi Egriselashvili

Giorgi is from Dmanisi, Georgia. He studied at Gori College in Gantiadi during which his subject of education was agriculture equipment mechanization. Within the scope of the Training Initiative, his practical learning in mechanization took place in Ron Alps in France. He returned to Dmanisi and is now using his improved skills on a farm as a mechanization expert.

What’s next?

The FinExCoop plans to send 4 more young farmers for genetic initiative experience learning to France, which are shared below.

  • Dachi Iarajuli is from Tianeti and produces goat milk. As a young farmer, he would like to learn goat cheese processing from Hautes Alpes, Elodie Blais company.
  • Gigo Ogadze is from Shiraki and would like to get training on cattle breeding from Devillard Farm in Saône-et-Loire France.
  • Shota Kavlelashvili and Beka Giorgobiani are from Dmanisi and work in the beef and dairy value chain. They want to learn cattle breeding from Devillard Farm in Saône-et-Loire France.

FinExCoop is a catalyst for change and utilizes its budget and expertise through strategic partnership building with other institutions to support young farmers to learn advanced skills and improve agriculture activities in various value chains in Georgia.

Furthermore, FinExCoop opens new windows for trainees! For instance, our young farmer from Adigeni, Maradi Mikeladze, desires to go back to Fromagerie Ebrard in Hautes Alpes France, where he completed his training within the scope of the Project, for a year to gain extended work experience. In this context, it would be appropriate to say that the FinExCoop Georgia project creates an environment for future cooperation and offers young farmers the opportunity to exchange, learn and grow sustainably!


The FinExCoop team has prepared a video film and testimonies of the FinExCoop’s trainees who studied in France, which could be watched at the below video link.

For more information, please contact us via email [email protected] or reach us at +995 599 30 57 58. Please also visit our website and our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you.
  This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of FinExCoop and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.  
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