Asia‎ > ‎


Georgia is a Eurasian country of the Caucasus region located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Its entire western border lies along the Black Sea, while its northern region has a long common border with Russia. Georgia’s population is about 4.5 million (2012), and the name of its capital is Tbilisi. The country was a part of the Soviet Union until it gained independence in 1991, but thereafter, while struggling to adopt free market economy through structural reforms, it faced serious economic crisis during most of the 1990s. However, its international economic standing greatly improved in 2007, with fast-growing tourism making a significant contribution to its economy. The country still has persistent poverty prevailing particularly in its rural areas. Georgia is administratively divided into nine main regions and two autonomous republics. The regions are sub-divided into 69 districts.

Georgia is an intensely mountainous country, covered by many inter-connected Caucasus mountain ranges.  It enjoys a variety of climates including warm, humid, sub-tropical along the Black Sea coast, cold and wet alpine climate in the high mountains, and arid environment in steppes. The development of the agricultural sector was not a high priority for the past Georgian governments. According to the European Union, numerous problems and challenges faced by Georgia such as capital disinvestment, the Russian embargo, absence of a functioning agricultural research-education-extension system, lack of a well-functioning land market, poor condition of irrigation systems and other infrastructures, and widespread impact of livestock diseases have resulted in the production reduction by 20 per cent since 2005. Even though agriculture’s decline in economic terms has been steady it still remains an important safety net for rural population in terms of food security. The present government has taken several bold steps to revive the agricultural sector such as inviting foreign investors and experienced farmers from countries like India to buy and develop arable land, something most Georgian farmers have not been able to do for various reasons.

Major crops grown are corn and winter wheat. Fruits include apples, wine grapes, peaches, nectarines, pears, oranges, tangerines, mandarins, and clementine. Vegetables include potatoes, tomatoes and garlic. Among the livestock, cattle, pigs and sheep are common. Main agricultural exports are wine and processed tea. Georgia has hundreds of grape varieties and has been producing high-quality wines for centuries. 


When Georgia was a part of the Soviet Union, almost the entire agricultural land was owned by the state and large collective farms were the norm. There were private, small family farms as well, but there is no information available on any extension and advisory support received by the farm families. The pattern of landholding changed drastically after Georgia’s independence in 1991. The collective, large state farms were de-collectivized and rather small parcels of land were distributed among rural households. Many new land owners had no clue of how to cultivate their farms properly. Once guaranteed Soviet Bloc market for Georgia’s agricultural exports was lost, the Georgian farmers passed through extreme crisis involving starvation threats, rural poverty and environmental pollution. Civil conflicts only worsened the situation.

The Agricultural Development Project (ADP), which was the first project in Georgia financed by the World Bank and co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), was started in 1997 when the country was still suffering from post-Soviet era problems. The project was completed in 2005, i.e. 38 months after the original closing date. Four components of the project focused on strengthening credit to enterprises, credit unions, land registration, and agricultural services. Under the last component, pilot research and extension modalities for small private farmers using mainly private service providers, and of farm management training programs were to be designed and tested. Studies were conducted in the areas of irrigation development and agricultural research and extension the results of which were used later in designing two World Bank-financed projects, namely Irrigation and Drainage Community Development Project (IDCDP) and the Agricultural Research, Extension and Training Project (ARET). An evaluation study rated the project outcome as “moderately unsatisfactory”.

The World Bank-financed Agricultural Research, Extension and Training Project (ARET), supported by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) was launched in 2000. The project aimed at strengthening adaptive research and technology dissemination through Competitive Grant Scheme, and at supporting the reform of the agricultural knowledge system (AKS). Under the AKS component, a national strategy for reforming the agricultural research, education and extension system was to be prepared.

In 2008, CARE International, Ministry of Agriculture and the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) organized a workshop in Tbilisi titled “Approaches to Agricultural Extension in Georgia: Past, Present and Future”. The event was attended by relevant government officials, major international NGOs and donor agencies involved in the development of agriculture in Georgia.