Since 2010 Georgia’s Ministry of Agriculture and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) have been carrying out the Agriculture Support Project (ASP).
The project’s goals are to end infrastructural problems and support farmers’ economic growth. An important part of the project is the rehabilitation of irrigation systems and dealing with issues regarding irrigation water in various regions across Georgia. This will greatly contribute in developing local agriculture.
In order to improve the information given to farmers regarding the carried-out rehabilitation activities, as well as defining certain benefits, various Georgian regions saw workshops being held with local farmers. The workshops were led by Irma Inashvili, an expert from the Georgian University, who noted while talking with CBW that due to Georgia’s natural climate conditions, programmed harvest cannot be yielded without proper ameliorating procedures (irrigation and drying), once again emphasizing the importance of their proper upkeep.
“Traditionally, surface-level self-streaming irrigation is most widespread in Georgia and requires certain care, since irrigation erosion may develop in the soil and lots of water can be lost due to filtration and vaporization, but Georgian farmers still prefer it due to cheapness. As for modern approaches, irrigation sprinklers are quite economic in terms of water usage, along with a cheaper and efficient alternative which is drip irrigation, which is mainly used in hot and dry climates. While meeting with the farmers we try to convince them of modern systems’ efficiency and advice on which specific approach to use on certain territories,” noted Irma Inashvili.
According to her, from 1990 to 2011 the development of agricultural amelioration was practically halted and existing irrigation and drainage systems went out of order. “Due to the structural and organizational activities, as well as ongoing rehabilitation and technical exploitation programs, by 2013 it was possible to irrigate up to 56 thousand hectares of land in the amelioration sector, and 88-90 thousand in 2014, which is over thrice as much as the irrigated area index from 2012.” – noted Irma Inashvili.
The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) is one of the most generous donors in the agriculture sector. It has been financing various projects in Georgia since 1998. Areas of activities are the Inner Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, and Samtskhe-Javakheti municipalities, where 6 irrigation systems were rehabilitated.