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Nestan Vibliani is an economist by trade. By day, the 43-year-old female farmer works at the local municipality in the south-central Georgian town of Tsalka, and by night she cares for her four children and husband.

Somewhere in between she finds time to help her family cultivate 13 hectares of land which includes one hectare of potatoes.

“I’ve been farming potatoes since I was a child,” said Nestan. “I love working the land and I want to learn about the new varieties and new technologies for growing potatoes.”

Like many women in Georgia, Nestan hasn’t had many opportunities to learn more about potatoes even though women make up half of the agricultural labor force. “Information often does not reach women because the training sessions are mostly attended by men while women are busy with household chores. My husband has learned about new mechanization techniques, but I haven’t.”

Nestan Wibliani receives potato ARC and drip irrigation system for the USAID Potato Program to establish innovative demo plot of seed potato production. Photo: Rusudan Mdivani.

The USAID Potato Program in Georgia is offering women like Nestan the opportunity to get more involved in potato production. The program focuses on gender mainstreaming in potato seed systems, engaging both men and women and has established a potato producer network where women have a very active role. The program has conducted gender training for both men and women and has also made a video on how gender matters in agricultural development.

Nestan’s appetite for more knowledge about potato production has been satisfied. A team of trainers with support from USAID and the International Potato Center visited her community of Tsalka and presented a field day for both men and women. The program also gave Nestan 50 kilograms of Meskhuri Red, a highly productive, elite-grade seed material so she could test different potato varieties.

“Our community can benefit from the knowledge and engagement of women in potato production,” said Nestan. “More women will become involved in potato production as our knowledge and experience in this field will be improved. As we become acquainted with new production methods and innovative technologies we will get a better harvest and a better income for my family.”

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Feature photo: A community nutrition scholar delivers a session on nutrition, hygiene and agriculture including the nutritional benefits of orange fleshed sweetpotato-18. Photo by CIP Asia.
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