GEORGIA – In order to support investments in the development of food laboratories for trade standard compliance and improved access to international markets, Georgia has launched its Strategic Roadmap for Sustainable Laboratory Infrastructure Development, which will offer guidance to public and private stakeholders on resource planning.
While agriculture is one of the key sectors of the Georgian economy and is oftentimes described as bearing great export potential, Georgia continues to struggle to achieve conformity in line with international standards due to a lack of modern quality infrastructure, especially laboratory testing capacities.
“The GQSP Georgia programme provided us with the opportunity to examine the challenges of establishing sustainable laboratories in Georgia. The Roadmap will play an important role in guiding the Ministry’s approach in this area of work,” Giorgi Khanishvili, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture (MEPA) stated.
The First Deputy Chair of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia and Member of Parliament, Khatia Tsilosani, also spoke about the significance of the GQSP in Georgia while highlighting the dedication and support of the nation’s legislative body.
She emphasized the program’s crucial role in bolstering both private and public laboratories.
Danielle Meuwly, Regional Director of Cooperation of the Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia recalled Switzerland’s long support to the agricultural sector in Georgia. She highlighted the Roadmap as one of the key achievements of the programme.
The GQSP, which debuted in Georgia in 2020, enables UNIDO to assist in boosting the national capacities of its conformity assessment bodies (CABs).
This support contributed to the transformation of the Georgia Laboratory Association (GeLab) into a knowledge hub.
The initiative supported the formulation of strategic guidelines relating to the country’s development of sustainable laboratory infrastructure and assisted in bringing the nation’s conformity assessment services into compliance with international standards and best practices.
The Georgian program also has a strong gender component that aids women in achieving their professional aspirations in the area of standards and quality.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of Switzerland provided funding for the GQSP Georgia initiative, which is a component of a larger international GQSP program that is carried out by UNIDO in close coordination with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA).
Its goals are to increase the ability of the Georgian fruit and vegetable value chain to adhere to quality standards as well as to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to reach EU markets.