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PRESS RELEASE

50,000 Households in Georgia Will Benefit from the Irrigation and Land Market Development Project Supported by the World Bank

May 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2014 – The World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors approved today US$50 million International Development Association (IDA) financing for the Irrigation and Land Market Development Project in Georgia.

The project development objective is to improve delivery of irrigation and drainage services in selected areas of the country, and develop improved policies and procedures as a basis for a national program of land registration. The project includes three components: Irrigation and Drainage Improvement, Land Market Development, and Project Management.

About 31,000 thousand farming households cultivating approximately 26,000 hectares of agricultural land, on which irrigation and drainage services will be improved under the project, will directly benefit  from increased agricultural productivity. 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.

The project will help to address disparity in income growth and contribute to the Bank’s twin goals of poverty reduction and shared prosperity by raising the productivity of farm households, a high proportion of which are amongst Georgia’s poorest forty percent of households,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “This will happen through improved delivery of irrigation and drainage services, and improving security of land tenure for farmers through land registration.”

The project contributes to the World Bank Group’s new Country Partnership Strategy for Georgia for 2014-17 in the areas of provision of infrastructure and services to facilitate growth and enabling job creation and competitiveness to accelerate private sector-led inclusive growth.

The project also addresses two priorities of the Government’s Sustainable Development Strategy 2020: increasing competitiveness of farmers and agricultural enterprises, which specifically refers to the importance of land market development, and improving agricultural infrastructure, including irrigation systems. The project will align with these priorities by rehabilitating the irrigation and drainage systems in the selected areas and strengthening the capacity of water institutions to manage these systems more sustainably.

These activities will contribute to increased agricultural productivity and allow diversification into higher value crops, and so will help foster increased incomes in rural areas. They will also contribute to strengthening security of land tenure in the project areas, which would give households greater access to capital and stimulate investment in agriculture,” said Peter Goodman, World Bank Team Leader for the Irrigation and Land Market Development Project.

Since Georgia joined the World Bank in 1992, a total of 57 projects comprising over US$1.95 billion of IDA credits and grants and IBRD loans have been provided to the country. The current portfolio consists of seven active investment projects for a total of US$600 million.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/525/ECA