The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $48 million loan to modernize agriculture irrigation systems and support institutional reforms in Georgia.
The Climate Smart Irrigation Sector Development Program, ADB’s first engagement in the Caucasus nation’s agriculture sector, aims to increase climate resilience and productivity. It will provide a modernized piped irrigation network covering about 7,000 hectares of the Kvemo Samgori irrigation scheme area in the agricultural region of Kakheti.
“Georgia has immense potential to develop its agriculture sector and increase its share in the economy,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov. “This new program will help Georgia modernize its agriculture systems, improve food security, and open up trade opportunities for the local population.”
The program will support the Government of Georgia’s goal of improving the policy and institutional framework for sustainable water resources management and an efficient state-owned enterprise for delivering irrigation services.
Under the policy-based loan, the actions include enhancing governance and management to increase the accountability, transparency, and efficiency of the Georgian Amelioration’s irrigation service delivery. Pricing and contracting changes will ensure improved efficiency of water use and financial sustainability of irrigation systems, while improving the legal and institutional framework will help ensure sustainable management of water resources.
The sector development program modality is being used to meet parallel needs for development financing, policy reforms, and targeted project financing. The policy and investment components will mutually reinforce each other and maximize the value that ADB brings.
Modernizing the Kvemo Samgori irrigation scheme will include construction of a combined closed pipe and open network for irrigation water conveyance with a total length of about 630 kilometers, to replace the current open canal system.
The program will help farmers modernize and improve their irrigation and agricultural production technologies for high-value crops like grape vineyards. These include climate-smart water management and irrigation methods, local water storage and recycling opportunities, and measures to address soil erosion.
“The program will increase farmland productivity through applying innovative agriculture production and irrigation technologies,” said ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist. “At least 1,000 farmers will benefit from the water-efficient technologies such as drip and sprinkler irrigation systems. This will help expand their trade opportunities.”
The program is aligned with the Georgian government’s Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy, 2021–2027 and its Irrigation Strategy, 2017–2025.
ADB has supported Georgia since 2007 and is one of the country’s largest multilateral development partners. ADB sovereign and private sector loans to Georgia total $3.9 billion. The bank’s key development priorities in Georgia include fostering inclusive and sustainable economic growth, reducing poverty, enhancing regional connectivity, and improving public service delivery.
The Agence Française de Développement will co-finance the policy component with a loan of €35 million and is also expected to mobilize a grant of €7.5 million from the European Union.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.