Georgian PM, Agriculture Minister discuss farmer credit, irrigation projects for 2023

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Agriculture Minister Otar Shamugia on Thursday  reviewed projects in the sector for this year. Photo: PM's press office, 02 Feb 2023 - 18:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Agriculture Minister Otar Shamugia on Thursday reviewed projects in the sector for this year, from the budget of the Preferential Agrocredit Programme to financing for irrigation infrastructure and promotion of the country’s produce.

The Government Administration said the discussion had involved a review of the plan for distributing the budget of the Ministry to the following areas:

  • ₾200 million ($76mln) for the Preferential Agrocredit Programme, with over 10,000 loans to be issued to farmers this year
  • ₾65 million ($24.72mln) for irrigation of 200,000 hectares of land
  • ₾35 million ($13.31mln) for the Plant the Future programme, to ensure planting of about 4,000 hectares of new orchards
  • ₾25 million ($9.51mln) for processing and storage, offering co-financing of up to 60 new enterprises
  • ₾20 million ($7.61mln) for setup and renovation of infrastructure on protected areas of the country
  • ₾16 million ($6mln) for promoting Georgian agricultural produce, including wine
  • ₾5 million ($1.90mln) for projects for the development of infrastructure of agricultural cooperatives

The programme for the promotion of hazelnut production will continue in 2023, the body added, noting over 68,000 beneficiaries had registered up to 30,000 hectares of hazelnut farms for the state registry.

Infrastructure projects will also involve installation of 137 new automatic meteorological, hydrological and geological stations across the country, while the network of air quality monitoring facilities will expand by nine automatic stations.

Authorities also plan to restore 1,500 hectares of forest cover and complete cataloguing 215,000 hectares this year.

In the fish farming sector, specific zones for the establishment of aquaculture farms in the Black Sea region will be designated in up to 10 locations this year, for facilitating production of up to 50,000 tonnes in 2023. 

In addition, the following projects will be financed with the support of international organisations:

  • Renovation of the 19,000 hectare irrigation network of Zemo Samgori in capital Tbilisi, involving a €90 million co-financing from the European Investment Bank, French Development Agency and European Union along with the Government
  • The World Bank project Georgian Resilient Agriculture, Irrigation and Land, with a $150 financing aiming to improve water supply for 26,000 hectares of land
  • A $23.75 million programme of the United States Agency for International Development, designated for micro, small and medium-sized businesses in villages along the administrative boundary line adjacent to the country’s occupied regions
  • A €16.25 million programme of the German state-owned investment and development bank KfW for forming new protected areas across the country

In other details discussed by the officials, food manufacturing facilities in the country will fully switch to the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points safety standard, designed to help protect consumers and increase competitiveness in the sector, starting in June.

The requirement for the switch was outlined in the Georgian Government’s Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement with the European Union.