DCFTA Local Advisory Council meeting was held at the office of the Young Scientists Union "Intellect" in Adjara AR.

on 26 May : 12:40

On May 24, 2018, an Adjara A/R local council meeting was held at the office of the Young Scientists Union "Intellect". The meeting was attended by 24 participants:

1. CSOs – 7
2. SMEs /Cooperatives - 12
3. Public officials / local administration representatives -  4
4. Ajara Television - 1 

The meeting Agenda covered the following issues:

- Main challenges for economic development in Ajara AR;
- Discussion of governmental initiatives (SME support, regulations/restrictions, recommendations);
- Formulation of recommendations and messages;
- Election of 2 candidates to represent LAC in the Central Advisory Council (CAC) 
To assist with next steps, LAC members, with help from the facilitator, discussed and identified and problems and constraining factors for prioritized sub-sectors. Participants selected two sub-sectors that received the highest number of points. These were Beekeeping (with total of 43 points) and Fish (fresh-water) farming (with total of 40 points). In the section below are provided current problems and obstacles in these sub-sectors as listed by LAC participants.  
Upon completion of the meeting, a Memorandum of Cooperation was introduced to attending LAC members; LAC members agreed that in the nearest days all LAC participants will sign the memorandum. Also, near the end of the LAC meeting, all attending participants anonymously filled out a post LAC survey form by which they evaluated the proceedings and results of the meeting and shared their opinion on how much the meeting met their expectations and how satisfactory and useful it was, specified the most relevant issues with regard to target sub-sector and SME development in the region, and, finally, named topics for possible discussion during future LAC meetings. (please see attached the Summary of Results of the Post-LAC Survey Questionnaire).
Summary of Results of Post-LAC Survey Questionnaire The participants evaluated their meeting with expectations by 4.38 points and content satisfaction level with 4.31 points (both out of a total 5 points). In the questionnaire, participants also indicated that they anticipated they would consider problematic issues that impede development of small and medium business in the region.
On the survey question “Did participation in LAC help you to increase your involvement in the DCFTA implementation?” 69% of participants responded “yes”; the remaining 31% responded “partly”. The participants also identified the following outstanding issues for the development of small and medium enterprises:

- Knowledge dissemination about DCFTA and new regulations;
- Existence of state support programs;
- Involvement of relevant agencies  in helping to resolve issues;
- Export-Import Issues;
- Cooperative development;
- Mediator presence.
In the “additional comments” section, participants indicated time discrepancy and a clear set of directions in need of discussion. Consequently, they recommended to discuss each direction in turn during future meetings and inviting experts to provide insight into the relevant direction.
Participants expressed considering such meetings necessary; some of them  noted that it is desirable to organize similar meetings with more intensity; some of them noted that it is desirable to prepare practical guidelines for each direction and develop specific written recommendations after meetings.