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Entrepreneurship and agricultural advisory service in the development of Moldovan villages

According to the UNDP report (Human Development Report 2013), Moldova is in 114th place, directly after Bolivia, in the global HDI ranking and holds the lowest place in Europe (to compare: Belarus 53, Ukraine 83). According to the World Bank, Moldova with a per-capita GDP counted by purchasing power parity amounting to about USD 4 669 (directly behind Pakistan), is also definitely the poorest country in Europe (to compare: Belarus USD 17 615, Ukraine USD 8 788).

The Moldovan economy is very dependent on the agricultural sector, which as the main area of the Moldovan economy provides about 60 percent of revenues from exports and directly employs over 40 percent, and taking into account the population living off income associated with agriculture, well over 50 percent of the vocationally active population. According to available sources, in Moldova, and particularly in rural regions, there exist the biggest areas of poverty, the lowest wages, the highest rate of economic emigration, and the greatest threats related to social exclusion. A direct result of the situation is immense economic emigration. Statistics indicate that nearly one million people have emigrated from Moldova for economic reasons (nearly 25 percent of the population and nearly 45 percent of occupationally active people). These indicators are even higher in the agricultural sector. The mass economic emigration from rural areas has highly negative economic and social consequences, which include depopulation of rural areas and loss of the most entrepreneurial people, broken families, lack of care for children and elderly persons, and abandoned farms. There are also budgetary consequences: lower tax revenues and higher social expenditures, which substantially limit Moldova’s developmental possibilities. In view of the above, particular importance is attached to actions to develop entrepreneurship, creating the capacity of producer groups and providing support for agricultural consultancy.

Entrepreneurship and agricultural advisory service in the development of Moldovan villages

The mass economic emigration has led to a great outflow of skilled people who include the most energetic, resourceful and entrepreneurial individuals. The Moldovan rural areas are in need of immediate action to halt this process and eventually reverse the unfavourable trend.

The actions envisaged in the project will lead to the creation of a system of support for model, innovative agricultural undertakings in Moldova’s rural areas, which on the one hand can be easily popularised and copied, and on the other can create a network of experienced local practitioners (advisors/experts), ready to transfer the acquired knowledge and experience to other interested parties. The proposed undertakings are diverse and innovative for Moldovan villages, being profitable and focused on self-employment and the creation of local jobs. In the future, these undertakings may also slow down the economic emigration of entrepreneurial people and potential local leaders of rural development. A network of model farms with different profiles of activity can be formed. At the same time, support is provided for the base of advisors/experts conducting independent agricultural activity. The revenues gained by the advisors from their activity will give them independence and will ensure financial stability of the programme in the longer perspective. This will help in the creation of the Moldovan model of a system of local, self-financing agricultural consulting points, an equivalent of the Polish Agricultural Advisory Centres. The initiative is being successfully carried out by the partner non-governmental organisation in Moldova – ACSA (National Agency for Rural Development), which currently has a network of 425 agricultural consultants with offices on the premises of the communal offices throughout Moldova.

Entrepreneurship and agricultural advisory service in the development of Moldovan villages

The project’s implementation will lead to the following results:

  1. Modernisation of 5 model livestock farms
  2. Creation of 3 innovative horticultural foils
  3. Launching 2 cheese-making facilities in sheep-breeding farms
  4. Training of 18 agricultural consultants