Rural Development, Livelihoods & Sustainability

Rural Development, Livelihoods & Sustainability

© Natalia Rotaru

We apply market systems development approach, support local small- and medium-sized enterprises, encourage the development of organic agriculture for domestic and international markets, foster the creation of associations and linkages between local actors, and strengthen regional stakeholders.



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Modernizing, Innovating, and Leveraging Knowledge for the Moldovan Dairy Sector (MILK)

Modernizing, Innovating, and Leveraging Knowledge for the Moldovan Dairy Sector (MILK)

Small farmers, who are the cornerstone of the dairy sector in Moldova, are currently facing existential problems and are facing several challenges that threaten the development of the local milk market. Weaknesses in the milk production process, quality control, gaps in the provision of veterinary services for livestock and insufficient coordination of market participants are reflected in a reduction in the volume and quality of dairy products placed on the market. At the same time, the number of Moldovan dairy and livestock producers is slowly declining, as has been the case for the last decade. The intention of the proposed project is to reverse this trend.

Specifically, the project is focused on improving the economic conditions of small and medium-sized farmers by strengthening the dairy value chain in northern Moldova, using a market systems development (MSD) approach and using knowledge and technical experts from the Czech Republic and Moldova. To this point, the project established regional platform for the coordination of the dairy sector, strengthen the capacity of milk MCCs and improve farmers' access to veterinary advice. As a result, the proposed project will strengthen the efficiency and cooperation of market participants throughout the dairy value chain and increase the productivity and milk quality of small and medium-sized cattle farmers.
 
Going organic through innovation

Going organic through innovation

The project proposal aimed to contribute to sustainable rural development in Moldova through effective ecological management of agricultural lands. The primary objectives were to pilot practices of integrated agriculture for improved soil management and promote the results among relevant authorities, science institutions, and farmers.

The project directly benefited a total of 3,155 individuals, who received valuable resources and training. These included the distribution of compost and soil fertility guides, a field day that showcased best organic agriculture practices, and training sessions on sustainable agriculture. The project's initiatives empowered the beneficiaries with increased awareness and knowledge, equipping them with the skills required for sustainable land management and organic farming.

Additionally, the project addressed waste management challenges by transforming organic waste from 99 households into compost, which was then applied as organic fertilizer on local fields. This initiative covered an impressive area of 79 hectares across the target villages. Not only did this contribute to the economic well-being of the communities, but it also mitigated environmental hazards associated with waste pollution.

Furthermore, the project fostered the long-term sustainability of the implemented waste management model. It facilitated behavior changes among the community members and triggered the continuation of composting practices. This development is expected to strengthen the resilience of the target communities, encourage further adoption of composting, and pave the way for scaling up the waste management model in other villages, such as Cuhuresti and Oliscani.

The project successfully accomplished its objectives by promoting sustainable agriculture practices, improving soil fertility, and introducing an effective waste management model in the target communities. Through the distribution of resources, training sessions, and the implementation of composting programs, the project directly impacted over 3,000 individuals.

By focusing on integrated agriculture and waste management, the project not only enhanced the ecological management of agricultural lands but also empowered the beneficiaries with valuable knowledge and skills for long-term sustainability. The achievements of this project serve as a testament to the potential for sustainable rural development in Moldova and provide a replicable model for future initiatives.

 
Development of sustainable organic agriculture in Moldova

Development of sustainable organic agriculture in Moldova

The beneficiaries of the project were farmer and consumer organizations, organic farmers and the general public. The project also aimed to increase awareness and knowledge of organic farming, support the development of the organic agriculture sector in Moldova and improve the livelihoods of farmers and consumers involved in it.

The project has directly benefited a total of 1500 people, who have increased awareness and knowledge about organic farming. These included the distribution of compost and soil fertility guides, a field day that showcased best practices in organic farming, and training sessions on sustainable agriculture. Project initiatives have empowered beneficiaries with increased awareness and knowledge, equipping them with the necessary skills for sustainable land management and organic farming.

Formal establishment of a single farmer cooperative. Purchase and donation to the cooperative of 1 composting hopper, 1 manure spreader. Strategic plans were developed; 4 video spots produced and broadcast online; 1 workshop with journalists, 4 participations in gastronomic shows, 4 specialist articles, 19 members attended organic farming courses, 3 members participated in Field Days in Germany

Organic farmers were organized to submit documents for subsidies to the Agency for Interventions and Payments for Agriculture (AIPA).
The website was developed and various types of information for farmers were published: announcements about events (conferences, meetings, exhibitions, etc.), video lessons, training materials, useful links to professional websites, etc. A conference was organized by MOVCA for students from the agriculture department which had 300 participants. 13 farmers participated in a training at the ecological farm in Romania, Călăraşi region, 10 participants participated in the Biofach exhibition.

70 participants (including 22 students and professors from the Aleco Russo University of Moldova, from the agriculture department) participated in the field day for the demonstration plot established in Hiliuti, Râșcani region, 30 participants participated in the field day for the demo plot established in Oliscani, Soldănești region.

The project has successfully achieved its objectives by promoting organic farming practices, improving soil fertility and introducing an effective waste management model in the target communities.
 
Support to the establishment of a Business Association in Gagauzia and Taraclia based on Czech experience

Support to the establishment of a Business Association in Gagauzia and Taraclia based on Czech experience

The project "Support to the establishment of a Business Association in Gagauzia and Taraclia based on Czech experience" aimed to foster economic development in the region by establishing a Business Association. This Association served as a platform for local businesses to connect, exchange knowledge, and advocate for their interests. Additionally, it provided training and capacity building opportunities to enhance members' business skills and competitiveness. The project benefited rural inhabitants, authorities, development NGOs, media, and the Moldovan and international public, as well as Local Action Groups (LAGs) in Gagauzia and Taraclia.

Key outcomes of the project included the successful establishment of the Business Association, modeled after Czech experience, enabling networking and knowledge sharing among local businesses. Workshops on the legal status of LAGs and the implementation of a Development Strategy were conducted. A concluding conference gathered key stakeholders to share recommendations and case studies from projects implementing the Rural Development Strategy in the target area. A publication was compiled and distributed, featuring project outcomes, evaluations, photographs, testimonials, and case studies to support the sustainability of results beyond the project's duration.

Videos based on case studies from ATU Gagauzia and Taraclia were created and promoted via PIN's YouTube channel, with the option for sharing through UNDP. LAG members conducted an annual evaluation of the Rural Development Strategy, supervised by PIN, focusing on assessing progress in meeting objectives. A participatory approach to Monitoring & Evaluation was introduced, incorporating people's perspectives through follow-up surveys and project evaluations. The findings aimed to inform adaptive actions. The final report, presented at the concluding conference, provided valuable lessons learned and recommendations for expanding LAGs' experience to other regions of Moldova.
 
Export-Led Development of Organic Agriculture in Moldova

Export-Led Development of Organic Agriculture in Moldova

The project proposal had a clear objective: to promote and support organic agriculture in Moldova. It aimed to enhance the expertise and skills of farmers, agricultural experts, and stakeholders in the organic agriculture sector while increasing production, sales, and income for organic producers and processors. The project also aimed to facilitate the export of organic products, build the capacity of local partners, and create awareness and demand for organic products among the public.

After the implementation of the project, significant results were achieved. The expertise and skills of farmers and agricultural experts in organic agriculture were notably improved through knowledge transfer and training activities. A total of 352 farmers participated in these training sessions, with 150 farmers receiving comprehensive training. Additionally, 171 farmers benefited from primary informative sessions and various training activities. The project also supported the establishment of two associations of organic farmers and consumers, fostering a strong organic agriculture community in Moldova.

The impact on organic producers and processors was substantial. The project successfully assisted them in increasing their production, sales, and income. Around 50% of the supported farmers experienced a remarkable growth in their organic product sales, with at least a 20% increase by the end of 2017 compared to the project's initial stages. Moreover, 50 farmers were actively involved in exporting products, either certified organic or in the conversion process, expanding their market reach beyond Moldova's borders.

Another significant outcome was the increase in public awareness and demand for organic products. The project aimed to educate and inform the public about the benefits of organic agriculture, and the results were promising.

The project also focused on building the capacity of local partners to ensure the long-term viability of organic agriculture. By the end of the project, one sustainable business consultancy unit was established. Additionally, there was considerable progress in developing organic associations and local NGOs with significant capacity. These efforts contribute to the overall sustainability and growth of the organic agriculture sector in Moldova.

The project's impact was further supported by the establishment of crucial partnerships and the development of sustainable business consultancy units and organic associations. These outcomes serve as a testament to the project's success in fostering sustainable rural development and providing a replicable model for future initiatives in Moldova's organic agriculture sector.
 
Organic Farming Unleashed: A Joint Effort to Build an Enabling Environment for Organic farmers in Moldova

Organic Farming Unleashed: A Joint Effort to Build an Enabling Environment for Organic farmers in Moldova

The project proposal aimed to achieve several objectives in the organic farming sector in Moldova. It sought to spread information about the business opportunity of producing organic grain with a guaranteed selling channel, convince farmers of the profitability of organic farming, and inform them about global trends and opportunities in the organic sector. The project also aimed to provide theoretical and practical knowledge to farmers, offer ongoing support and consultation, promote the concept of organic food to the Moldovan public, increase the area under organic crops, improve food distribution infrastructure, and establish a robust market for organic commodities involving multiple stakeholders.

The project successfully trained a total of 480 individuals in the initial trainings for organic farmers interested in becoming owners/managers of producer companies. Additionally, 180 already certified organic farmers or those in the conversion period received additional training. The trainings on production technologies reached 170 participants, with an additional 450 individuals benefiting from on-farm training. The sessions conducted by the foreign trainer resulted in reaching 155 participants, while 528 individuals received training on farms. A total of 140 individuals were trained in additional sessions focusing on marketing, storing, and linking with processing companies. The knowledge sharing activities involved 20 Moldovan knowledge and scientific institutions. The capacity strengthening trainings targeted 140 farmers, and individual visits, consultations, and coaching sessions were conducted, with PIN conducting 69 sessions and agronomists providing over 2,300 sessions. These numbers reflect the tangible impact of the project in terms of beneficiaries and the extensive reach of the training activities.

 
Enhancement of Viticulture and Winemaking programs at agricultural colleges in Moldova

Enhancement of Viticulture and Winemaking programs at agricultural colleges in Moldova

The project aimed to optimize and develop educational programs in viticulture and oenology to ensure that the profiles of graduates match the requirements of the local and European markets and to provide practical training for teachers as a result, leading to an improvement in the quality of education and to an increase in the employment rate of graduates in the viticulture and oenology sector in Moldova.

The project also aimed to deliver small equipment for didactical purposes and organize internships for students from schools.

The project indicators were:
Improving education in the fields of viticulture and oenology at agricultural colleges, so that the profiles of graduates correspond to the requirements of the local and EU markets. Three schools improved their facilities, 2 schools established small vineyards. During the project, 4 teachers from each school started to use the acquired knowledge in their teaching practice. Educational programs were modernized and introduced at each participating college. 2 new programs implemented in 3 schools. The qualifications of graduates from participating colleges match those required in the wine sector. Graduate employment rate increased, 22 graduate students were hired.

The teaching staff from the participating colleges acquired new general and specialized knowledge:
- 21 teachers participated in a training; 14 teachers participated in 2 trainings; 3 teachers participated in 3 trainings and 1 teacher in four trainings.
- 2 professors from each college participated in a visit to a similar institute providing education in viticulture and winemaking in the Czech Republic
The indicator was reached in the first half of the project. 14 people participated: 6 teachers from Stauceni; 3 teachers from Taul; 3 teachers from Ungheni and 2 representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture.

University facilities and school equipment have been improved. Development plans have been optimized. Didactic equipment and materials were delivered and put into operation.
Practical recommendations for the management of school vineyards were developed and implemented.

The project is considered sustainable as it continues to provide external expertise to the schools and share their knowledge with local trainers and teachers even after the project ends.
The attitude of the stakeholders was positive and they considered the project a good support for the schools.
 
Development of wine education at secondary agricultural schools in Moldova

Development of wine education at secondary agricultural schools in Moldova

The project "Development of wine education at secondary agricultural schools in Moldova" aimed to enhance the quality and effectiveness of winemaking education in vocational high schools. The specific objectives were to optimize the study program and curriculum, expand the knowledge of teachers, and establish a framework for business and profitable activities in selected schools.

As a result of the project, significant outcomes were achieved. New learning programs in the viticultural branches of study were optimized, ensuring a more comprehensive and relevant education for students. The teaching staff of the relevant schools gained both general and specialized knowledge, enhancing their expertise in winemaking education. Furthermore, the existing facilities and equipment of the schools were improved, creating a conducive learning environment, and the strategy for future development was optimized to sustain the progress made.

Through these achievements, the project successfully contributed to the advancement of wine education in 3 secondary agricultural schools in Moldova, aligning the curriculum with the requirements of the local and EU markets. The project's impact will be long-lasting, benefiting both students and the wine industry by producing well-equipped graduates who are prepared to meet the demands of the evolving wine sector.
 
Support for the production of fruit and vegetables with added market value in Moldova

Support for the production of fruit and vegetables with added market value in Moldova

With this project, PIN Moldova supported the production of fruit and vegetables with added market value.

Moldovan farmers and agriculturalists have long faced difficulties in accessing profitable domestic and export markets for their products. Additionally, the local market for agricultural goods experienced significant price disparities due to limited market mobility and price volatility, with differences of up to fivefold between in-season and off-season prices.

To tackle these challenges the project focused on optimizing and improving the existing conditions of selected cooperatives, enhancing their management capacity, ensuring proper functioning, and strengthening various aspects of production and product marketing. The cooperative members were encouraged to exchange knowledge and experiences to facilitate market access.

This, in turn, has improved food security and the livelihoods of agricultural producers in Moldova. The project's successful completion marked a significant step forward in increasing the competitiveness and efficiency of the country's agricultural sector.
 
Support to the organic agriculture sector

Support to the organic agriculture sector

Since 2011, People in Need has been supporting the development of organic agriculture in Moldova, aiming at building up the sector for exports as well as for the domestic market. To achieve this, PIN has been partnering with different stakeholders such as local organizations (EtnoGastronomica, MOVCA) that promote organic agriculture in the country and private companies (PROBIO and PROGRAIN Organic) with whom we worked on developing organic agriculture knowledge and for whose farmers we provided intensive trainings on organic agriculture techniques and certification principles and procedures.  
To build up in-country knowledge on organic agriculture, PIN has developed a curriculum for farmers and has trained a group of more advanced learners on organic agriculture with the help of international experts. Small grants were also part of our strategy to help the organic sector develop and provide an opportunity for organic growers to invest in needed equipment.