October 12, 2023

Akhaltsikhe Tsiteli Doli is on the agricultural radar again

Akhaltsikhe Tsiteli Doli is on the agricultural radar again

In August, 2023, the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (RECC) organized number of field visits in 5 municipalities of Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia, including Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Aspindza, Borjomi and Akhalkalaki to check and monitor the allocated plots of farmers, who were interested in cultivating Meskhetian wheat variety “Akhaltsikhe Tsiteli Doli”.

As a reminder, “Akhaltsikhe Tsiteli Doli” is a wheat variety from the southern Georgian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti, which is well-adapted to heavy soils and a harsh climate (Samtskhe-Javakheti is characterized by cold winters and hot, dry summers). It is also frost-hardy and quite resistant to drought and diseases. The bread baked from this flour has a distinctive taste, a bluish color, and maintains freshness for up to a week. Despite its nutritional, gastronomical or historical value, it is among the endangered crop varieties, which was almost abandoned during the Soviet times in Georgia.

To support its preservation and increase popularity, RECC is implementing a GEF-funded project on “Sustainable Management of Agricultural Biodiversity in Vulnerable Ecosystems and Rural Communities of Samtskhe-Javakheti Region in Georgia”, within which the mentioned field visits were organized. The project staff met with the farmers interested in cultivating “Akhaltsikhe Tsiteli Doli” to inform them on the requirements needed to become project beneficiary. The project conditions are as follows:

  • Their land must be at least 0.5 ha (however, depending on the region area, it was possible to allow smaller plots);
  • Land must be registered in public registry;
  • Farmer must have a wheat cultivation experience;
  • Have demonstrated interest in Meskhian wheat variety “Akhaltsike Tsiteli Doli”;
  • One of the main project conditions for farmers was to donate the harvested seeds of “Akhaltsikhe Tsiteli Doli” – the certified seeds of which were provided to them within the project, to persons interested in cultivation and propagation of Meskhian wheat variety free of charge.

Each of the farmers was planned to receive 250 – 270 kg. of certified wheat seeds per ha of the land. The project concluded the contract on providing scientific-research services with the LEPL “Scientific-Research Center of Agriculture” of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and it will conduct soil analysis for beneficiary farmers and based on their study results, farmers will get recommendations on soil nutrition and treatment, and plant care for increased productivity and soil health.


In total, 76 farmers expressed interest and participated in the field monitoring in August, while in October, overall 85 eligible beneficiaries received 21 130 kg. of certified wheat seeds for cultivation, which were brought from two providers. Depending on the municipalities and beneficiary farmers, wheat seeds were allocated as follows:

  • 2,010 kg. – for Akhalkalaki and Borjomi municipalities (wheat was distributed in the village of Vachiani in Akhalkalaki municipality);
  • 11,180 kg. – Aspindza municipality (distributed from settlement Aspindza);
  • 6,540 kg. – Akhaltsikhe municipality (distributed from city Akhaltsikhe);
  • 1,400 kg. – Adigeni municipality (distributed from city Akhaltsikhe).

It is remarkable, that farmers will sow wheat annually through 2026, and rotate the  plot in every 2-3 years to care for soil and plant health. Following the harvesting, based on prior agreement, farmers will donate the same amount of wheat seeds to parties interested in cultivation and propagation of “Akhaltsikhe Tsiteli Doli”, completely free of charge. Totally distributed certified seeds of “Akhaltsikhe Tsiteli Doli” covered 77 ha of the land in 5 municipalities of Samtkhe-Javakheti Region of Georgia.