Georgia hopes Thomson-Reuters will support land development project

Rehabilitation of irrigation systems and land market development are the two main focuses of the multi-million dollar project., 26 Mar 2015 - 18:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

The head of Georgia’s National Agency of Public Registry (NAPR) is on an official visit to the United States (US) to discuss cooperation possibilities with leading media and market research company Thomson-Reuters regarding the country’s new multi-million dollar land management project.

While in the US, Papuna Ugrekhelidze aimed to design a strategy for the $50 million USD Irrigation and Land Market Development Project with the project’s main financial supporter, the World Bank Group.

But before this can happen, a thorough analysis of Georgia’s land must take place to allow the country to get critical information from leading decision makers. This is where Thomson-Reuters comes in.

In this regard Ugrekheldze met Donald Peele, Vice-President of Thomson-Reuters – one of the major multinational mass media and information firms – and discussed possible ways of cooperation.

Also during his US visit, Ugrekhelidze arranged meetings with representatives of the World Bank Group who are in charge of financing the Irrigation and Land Market Development Project in Georgia.

The sides discussed the Action Plan for starting the first phase of the project’s implementation. In particular, the discussion focused on the draft law about land rights registration and cadastral data improvement. The sides also designed the project’s development strategy.

Back in September 2014, the World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors approved $50 million USD ($107 million GEL) International Development Association (IDA) financing for the project.

Today, the draft law was made available to be submitted to the Parliament of Georgia. Once Parliament approves the draft law, the project will begin to be executed.

The project maturity is 25 years with a further five years grace period.

Twelve villages throughout Georgia will benefit from the project. The aim of the project was to improve delivery of irrigation and drainage services and develop improved policies and procedures as a basis for a national program of land registration.

The project involved two main components: rehabilitation of irrigation systems and land market development.

It envisaged improving irrigation and drainage services for about 31,000 farming households who cultivate about 26,000 ha of agricultural land. These people will directly benefit from increased agricultural productivity, believed officials.

Additionally, about 19,000 households holding unregistered agricultural land plots in pilot areas for land registration will benefit from improved policies and procedures generated under the project and the opportunity to register their land.