The Georgian Government, in partnership with the World Bank, this week launched the Georgia Resilient Agriculture, Irrigation, and Land Project (GRAIL), which will benefit farmers and agricultural enterprises by enhancing irrigation services, land management, and agricultural support. The project will directly benefit the country’s rural population, leading to increased productivity and improved livelihoods.
The GRAIL project is designed to help irrigation water services and the irrigated agricultural sector adapt to drought, warming temperatures, and the anticipated long-term reduction in precipitation. Irrigation modernization and rehabilitation will foster greater resilience through improved water conveyance efficiency and upgraded irrigation structures; improved control of water delivery to farms, and the introduction of water metering. These measures are expected to reduce water use, crop water stress, and soil erosion.
“The GRAIL Project will lead Georgia towards a greener and more resilient future,” said Rolande Pryce, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “By investing in irrigation and land management, we are both improving agricultural productivity and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the sector. Most importantly, this will open new opportunities for farmers, enterprises, and rural populations across the country.”
With a total cost of $150 million, the GRAIL Project is co-financed equally by the Government of Georgia and the World Bank. This financial collaboration showcases the commitment of both parties to promoting sustainable agriculture and enhancing sustainable land management practices in Georgia.
“The World Bank is an important development partner for Georgia with timely and efficient delivery of assistance in line with the country’s development priorities. The GRAIL Project is another illustration of our significant and successful partnership,” said Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia. “I am deeply convinced that this project will make substantial contributions in strengthening the agriculture sector of Georgia.”
Aiming to boost the resilience of irrigated agriculture in Georgia, the project will finance civil works, goods, equipment, and related services, as well as technical training for agency staff and farmers. The irrigation and drainage infrastructure investments will improve reliability of water supply for irrigation, reducing risks associated with climate-induced precipitation variability for water users.
“We are looking forward to the implementation of the GRAIL Project, which will greatly benefit the rural population of Georgia,” said Otar Shamugia, Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia. “Along with the large capital investment part, the project will also support institutional strengthening of state agencies, including Georgian Amelioration, Rural Development Agency and Land Development Agency.”
In terms of institutional strengthening for climate adaptation, the GRAIL project aims to invest in establishment of a multi-agency center for tracking agrometeorological parameters for improved irrigation and land management monitoring using remote sensing and advanced the hardware for tracking river flows, precipitation and other parameters. This will significantly enhance the capacity of institutions within the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture to plan for and respond to climate risks.
By improving land management capacity, the GRAIL Project will enhance national land administration and management systems, enabling access to and use of geospatial data. Advancing these systems will activate agricultural land markets, facilitate investments into agri-businesses, and contribute to climate change adaptation measures.
“The launch of the GRAIL Project marks an important step towards enhancing land administration service delivery and digital infrastructure,” said Tamar Tkeshelashvili, First Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia.
“A well-functioning National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) underpins social and economic development, facilitates effective public administration, and brings greater alignment with the EU regulations.”
To ensure effective management, two Project implementation Units (PIUs) will be established under the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and the National Agency of Public Registry. These PIUs will coordinate and technically supervise the GRAIL Project implementation, as well as oversee social and environmental standards and gender-focused activities.