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Development of agricultural services on rural areas

According to the UNDP Human Development Report 2014, Moldova ranked 114th or last among European countries in terms of socio-economic development (by comparison: Belarus ranked 53rd and Ukraine - 83rd). According to the World Bank, Moldova, with per capita GDP calculated on the purchasing power parity basis of about USD 4,669 (right behind Pakistan), is also by far the poorest country in Europe (by comparison: Belarus’ per capita GDP stood at USD 17,615 and Ukraine’s at USD 8,788).

Moldova’s economy is heavily dependent on the agricultural sector, which is its primary economic contributor and provides around 60 per cent of the country’s export revenues, more than 40 per cent of direct employment for its working population and substantially more than 50 per cent of employment when we include the working population who derive their income from agriculture-related sources. According to the available sources, vast areas of Moldova, especially its rural areas, are affected by poverty and see some of the lowest wages, the highest labour emigration metrics and the greatest percentage of population at risk of social exclusion.

This situation has resulted directly in huge labour emigration. Due to very high unemployment rates in Moldova’s rural areas (according to some statistics, as much as 70 per cent of the working population), measures aimed at enterprise development are particularly important for the development of those areas. The development of agricultural services supports the development of farms, enables the use of local resources and helps diversify the labour market, thus limiting the liquidation of farms and labour emigration from rural areas.

Development of agricultural services on rural areas

The main objective of the project was to support enterprise development in order to reduce poverty in rural Moldova, with particular emphasis on enterprise development in the field of agricultural services. In its implementation, the project envisaged support for the development of local services in the field of arable crops and animal husbandry, and for the expansion of the agricultural advisory services network. The project investment activities provided for the extension and modernisation of six plant cultivation services and four animal husbandry support service centres. Moreover, the project invested in the buildout or complete refurbishment and equipping of four different fruit and vegetable dryers, one cold store, one sunflower seed cleaning, sorting and packaging plant, a queen bee apiary, a honey collection and bottling plant, a loose and granulated feed mixer and a rural slaughterhouse. As a result, 10 diverse agricultural service entities in 10 villages across eight regions of Moldova commenced their activity. The investment activities were further enriched with two study tours of Poland and practical workshops in Moldova organised to transfer experience and best practices in the provision of agricultural services. The project also contributed to the expansion of the agricultural advisory services network (NRDA) by another 10 consultants. Implementation of the project resulted in the creation of 28 new jobs and the generation of a combined total revenue from services of approximately EUR 560,000 per year.

Development of agricultural services on rural areas

As a result of this project implementation, several model agricultural service entities operating in Moldovan rural areas were successfully established and equipped; their operations have had a significant local as well as regional impact. Models for the provision of various agricultural services were created, among others:

  • a modern fruit-drying facility – one of the largest in Moldova – producing nearly exclusively for exports, owned by “LEGBIOFRUCT,” a production cooperative in the village of Hîrtop of the Cimişlia region;
  • a rural butcher shop owned by “MEZALBRAV,” a production cooperative in the village of Braviceni of the Orhei region, producing traditional meats, winner of an award from the Minister of Agriculture of Moldova;
  • “MCN-CURCHI,” an agricultural machinery service maintenance and repair plant in the village of Mitoc of the Orhei region;
  • “ALBINÁRIE,” a wax making plant, which supports the development of beekeeping and supplies about 5,000 beehives per year (in the village of Dănceni, Ialoveni region).

The direct beneficiaries of the project comprised 10 local agricultural service plants:

  • four model fruit and vegetable dryers processing over 880 tonnes of raw material, with a total annual revenue of EUR 260,000 and 13 new employees;
  • one modernised vegetable and fruit chilling facility, with three new employees and annual service sales in the amount of around EUR 30,000;
  • one sunflower seed cleaning, sorting and packaging plant, with four new employees and annual export seed sales in the amount of around EUR 50,000;
  • one apiary specialising in breeding Carpathian queen bees, which supplies apiaries with breeding material worth around EUR 25,000 and has hired one additional employee;
  • one honey collection and bottling plant, with two new employees and annual sales in the amount of around EUR 60,000;
  • one loose and granulated feed mixing plant, with two new employees and annual sales to breeders in the amount of around EUR 60,000;
  • one rural slaughterhouse that meets the HACCP standards, with three new employees and annual service sales in the amount of around EUR 75,000;

In addition, the project contributed to:

  • the expansion and modernisation of six plant cultivation service facilities (in the villages of: Corjova and Răculeşti of the Criuleni region, Stolniceni of the Edineţ region, Sofia of the Drochia region, Coloniţa of the Chișinău region and Ratuş of the Teleneşti region);
  • the development of four animal husbandry support service centres (in the villages of: Dănceni of the Ialoveni region, Sipca of the Şoldăneşti region, Clisova and Păhărniceni of the Orhei region).