Cultivating climate resilience in Moldova
Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, northeast of Romania, best known for its number one export: wine. Cereals, as well as fruits and vegetables – especially apples – are also among the top five agricultural exports. The agriculture and food processing sector together make up about 40 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
In Moldova, households reliant on farming have been the first to feel the impacts of climate change. With three-fourths of Moldova’s land used for food production, Moldova’s economy relies heavily on agriculture, which is being jeopardised by extended droughts and desertification processes, temperature increases, decreased water reserves, and soil erosion, all of which conspire to decrease food security and household income.
Changing cultivation technology has required building technical skills and raising conservation awareness. Through the project “Supporting Moldova’s National Climate Change Adaptation Planning Process” Austrian Development Agency and UNDP experts have, in order to implement the right technologies, trained farmers on adaptation practices, providing long term advice and guidance during the implementation of the pilot projects.
Methods and Tools
Through the project’s dedicated grant scheme to showcase innovative adaptation measures at the local level, 3 grants have been given related to agriculture. The beneficiaries of these grants have been working to improve agricultural conservation practices, while helping to restore soil fertility.
By promoting new agricultural technologies, like automated GPS navigation to increase the efficiency of pesticide and mineral fertiliser application, or by using improved soil conservation methods and precision machinery, the overall objective is to develop climate-resilience for farmers.
Conservation methods like continuous no-till or minimum-till, crop rotation, and cover crops are keys to building healthy soils. At the same time, these methods minimise potential problems, including soil erosion, degradation of soil, and excessive energy consumption. The beneficiaries are promoting a wide variety of cropping practices as part of a systems approach to sustaining and improving natural resources. In addition to the conservation benefits, such systems add to the overall sustainability and energy efficiency of the entire farming operation, saving fuel and labour.
“Farmers are encouraged to apply the principles of conservation agriculture based on minimal soil disturbance; to not harvest plant debris that eventually turns into organic material and has the ability to maintain and conserve water in the soil and another principle: a general rule of agriculture is crop rotation. It is one of the priority adaptation solutions.” Mr. Grigore Batîru, national consultant for the agricultural sector
Highlights of the project
Following the successful implementation of pilot projects, local producers are motivated to make plans for the future, applying technologies that contribute to adaptation, simultaneously enhancing food security and improving the welfare of rural populations.
- In the North of the country, in the Fălești district, one grant provided funding for equipment consisting of a ripper and a precision no-till seeder. Covering 870 ha, 1,400 people are working the land, growing wheat, corn, barley, sunflower, and sugar beets, in turn benefiting the whole Călugăr village (population 2,178).
- In the South of the country, two pilot projects have been supported in Sadaclia village (population 4,389): Peasant Farm Vasile Baciu and LLC Sadac-Agro.Both pilot projects in Sadaclia provide services to other small farmers and households nearby.
- Peasant Farm Vasile Baciucovers a 347ha farm comprised of subplots leased by over 200 villagers; the farm grows rapeseed, mustard, barley, wheat, corn, and sunflower.
- The adjacent community farming pilot project, LLC Sadac-Agro, covers 8,000ha and is comprised of the small plots of 1100 villagers. This farm also farm grows rapeseed, mustard, barley, wheat, corn, and sunflower, and includes a vineyard and an orchard. Between the two farms, 1,300 households are supported by leasing lands.
- ~60 farmers have received training in climate-resilient farming practices and sustainable agriculture.
- View the exposure.co photostory "Promoting climate-resilient agriculture in Moldova"
- Read the UNDP news article "Cultivating climate resilience in Moldova"
- Go to the project page: Supporting Moldova’s National Climate Change Adaptation Planning Process
- Go to the project website [available in Romanian and English]