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Models to follow in rural economy | Agriculture – EU-LEADER Flagship Initiatives Fund, 2020

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10 September 2021
Visits: 52

Agriculture has an important role in the Republic of Moldova, taking into account that a third of the population activates in this sector. The proper integration of new technology in the field of agriculture is a new trend, which has a lot of advantages for this sector. We encourage you to discover Alexandru Casap’s story, one of our local partners that received non-reimbursable funding from the EU-LEADER Flagship Initiatives Fund, 2020 edition, to buy a drone specific for agriculture activities. Small and medium producers that use new technology for responsible agriculture, that work with care for the soil and the quality of the products, should be supported. It is important to ensure the fertilization of the soil in order to protect that valuable natural resources our country has to offer.

“Before, the drone was an option in a peasant household, now it is a direct competitor to the traditional technology”, Alexandru Casap, the director of the company Cabosal LTD, says. Happy with the way his business evolves, Alexandru invited us to see his drones in action, the way they sprinkle and disperse fertilizer, collect the vegetation indices of the agricultural land, informing us about the way he integrates new technology in the agriculture of the Republic of Moldova.

Innovative solutions in the agriculture sector 

He always thought that it is important to bring innovations in our country and the launched Cabosal LTD company meant the possibility to develop and integrate the IT field in the agriculture of the Republic of Moldova. Implementation of solutions with advanced technology in the field of agriculture in Republic of Moldova is at its incipient stage. The development of this process will bring a better productivity, efficacity, and quality of the harvest. “We aim to implement new technologies that we still don’t have in the Republic of Moldova. Not all the people would venture out. I always preferred new technologies, innovations. At the beginning it was hard, because no one did it before. It took one year and a half of hard work to see the first results”, Alexandru tells about the beginning of his business. 

Alexandru Casap managed to lunch his business two years ago, and later he was among the twelve entrepreneurs from rural area which received non-reimbursable funding from the EU-LEADER Flagship Initiatives Fund, 2020 edition, financed by the European Union and Polish Aid. The company had more trials to access grants, because the equipment which they needed is an expensive one. Even if they were rejected not only once, this fact did not prevent them from following their dreams “I applied for many financing projects, but everyone was sceptical of funding this equipment. After, I applied for the EU-LEADER Flagship Initiatives Fund in 2020, and the amount of non-reimbursable funding which the company received was 221 thousand lei. I was surprised when the Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova team accepted this interesting project, with a bright future in the Republic of Moldova”, he mentioned. 

The positive economical impact 

Even from the first days when the company announced on social media the services it can provide – of spraying and vegetation indices collection for agricultural land with the help of drones, Cabosal LTD received approximately eight requests. “Farmers understood that due to collecting vegetation indices, they can detect if there is any problem on the field and fix it right away, in order not to lose crops. This year we started providing our services in the middle of the season, but it was a year in which we faced many challenges. We managed to gather experience and customers for the next year”,Alexandru says. Moreover Cabosal LTD already has four service providers to whom they sell drones. Because one of the biggest impediments in the field of IT in the agriculture of Republic of Moldova is lack of knowledge and abilities of farmers to use these technologies, the company provides all customers with trainings on how to use of the technique. 

To be sure that the equipment is used correctly, the company is near the client for seven days after the training. This way, if they have any troubles using the equipment, they can be guided instantly. Farmers that did not decided to buy this kind of equipment can always use Cabosal LTD services, which are much cheaper than the traditional technique. “Usually, with the traditional technique, an enormous amount of water was needed, from 300 to 500 liters of water per hectare. With the drone we use approximately from five liters to 20 liters per hectare, being an advantage of saving water, also having a much lower production cost. Thus, we intend to bring organic agriculture as close as possible to the citizens”, explains the director of Cabosal LTD. Thanks to new technologies, farmers in the Republic of Moldova can save up to 90% less water and 10-15% less active substance, which is a major advantage over traditional technology.

The drone can perform various operations, providing users with improved stability and flight safety through high-precision autonomous operation and omnidirectional digital radar. The omnidirectional digital radar allows the drone to recreate the environment, allowing it to know where the obstacles are and avoid them autonomously. Moreover, the drone can carry up to 20 litres of liquid into the tank. “The spray drone has a spray width of seven meters. The flight height is from 1.5 meters to 3 meters, and depending on the active substance used, we use from five litres of water to 20 litres of water per hectare. The operability of using such a drone is about from one acre to two in ten minutes of flight. In one day, the drone operator can process from 70 to 100 hectares”, Alexandru said.

Future plans

The Cabosal LTD director wants to bring further more and more advanced techniques to the field of agriculture of the Republic of Moldova. Even if at first he was not sure how the company would evolve and how receptive farmers would be to use such a technique as drones, he noticed that, along the way, more and more specialists in the field appreciated their effectiveness. “When we made the SWOT analysis, we detected some risksand the scepticism of the farmers from the Republic of Moldova regarding the new technology were among thev, as well as the detailed lack regarding the dosages to be used on different crops. Lately, two producers of the active substance have introduced the dosages, using the drone, and I was pleasantly surprised by this fact”, Alexandru said.

Compania SRL Cabosal LTD ordered a drone that does 3D cartography. With its help, they will spray the vines and orchards. For starters, the company plans to do testing, to establish water dosages for one hectare of orchard and vines, but the director hopes to be able to provide these as soon as possible. “We already have a lot of demands from farmers who produce grapes and those who have orchards. I urge all entrepreneurs, if you like something innovative and you want to implement those things in the Republic of Moldova, don’t be afraid, as you will get beautiful results”, Alexandru mentions.

The project is implemented within the EU—LEADER Flagship Initiatives Fund 2020, of the “LEADER approach for rural prosperity in Moldova” project, financed by the European Union and Polish Aid, managed by Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova and National LEADER Network in the Republic of Moldova. Strategic partner — the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry.

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Success stories

The draft law on Local Action Groups, voted at the final reading

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9 April 2021
Visits: 364

Starting in 2022, the Local Action Groups (LAGs) in the Republic of Moldova will receive public funding.

The LEADER approach in the Republic of Moldova marks a new result. On 9 April 2021, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova passed the Law on LAGs, which provides for the creation of the legal framework on their activity. Thus, the LAGs will be able to obtain the status of legal entities, which will allow for the LEADER state program to come into force, managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment. Starting in 2022, the LAGs will be able to access public funds for the LEADER Program, of up to 5% of the National Fund for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Environment

In February 2020, the Ministry launched the procedure for developing the special law on LAGs, followed by substantial efforts to promote it. Today, the law was voted at the final reading by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, which means a vote of trust for the LAGs and the LEADER approach as a tool for rural development, with potential to bring enduring change in the Republic of Moldova“, declared Galina Petrachi, head of the Rural Development Policies and Programs Direction within the Ministry. 

Creating the legal framework for the LEADER Program and the LAGs was an ample process, which involved promoting and adopting a series of changes to existing legislation. These actions were accomplished through the efforts of the Ministry, the Parliamentary Commission “Agriculture and Food Industry”, in partnership with the National LEADER Network in the Republic of Moldova and the Local Action Groups, with support provided by development partners through Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova. 

Passing the Law on LAGs creates new opportunities for rural development through the LEADER approach. In order to reach this result, we went through a complex process alongside the Ministry and the Local Action Groups. Together we have managed to create an innovative and efficient instrument for rural development, one that encourages local activism and gives a boost to economic development“, declared Marina Albu, President of the National LEADER Network of the Republic of Moldova and Deputy Director of Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova.  

Thanks to the collective efforts of those involved, the Republic of Moldova became the first and, for the time being, the only country in the non-EU space that implements the LEADER Program as a public policy tool for rural development. 

Currently, LEADER is one of the most efficient instruments for rural development in the Republic of Moldova, which boosts the economy as well as the potential of rural areas. LEADER contributes to reducing migration and breathes new life into the villages. Adopting the law on Local Action Groups ensures the continuity of this approach and will undoubtedly bring more opportunities for development to the people living in rural areas“, said Dmitrii Ianul, manager of LAG “Cismeaua Sudului”. 

“Our experience with LAG ‘Stancile Prutului’ and the results achieved in two years are proof that people in villages are ready for social and economic changes. Nonetheless, for their actions and involvement to produce longlasting changes, they should be guided by a special law, adapted to the local context and needs. I am convinced that passing the law on LAGs and carrying out the LEADER Program will contribute to a rural revival in the Republic of Moldova”, said Ghenadie Bucliș, manager of LAG “Stancile Prutului“. 
 

This effort to create a legal framework will enable the LAGs to register as legal entities, as well as the LEADER Program to be carried out with public financing from the National Fund for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Environment. As a public policy tool, the LEADER Program will contribute to the efficient and long lasting development of rural areas. 

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Success stories

Petru Rusu, “Valea Cuboltei” LAG: People should enjoy clean water, and that’s what I work for

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27 November 2020
Visits: 152

The times are changing, the technologies are advancing and professions that were once essential, today are one the verge of disappearing. In Hasnasenii Mari village from Drochia district, the well sinker profession is still popular, and a great well sinker, such as Petru Rusu, is always requested to work on different local fountain projects, especially since he has modern equipment, that will ease his job.

Painter by profession, Petru Rusu has embraced the craft of well sinker more than 15 years ago and has managed to clean hundreds of wells. “I’ve worked in the theatre, at the House of Culture, and now, I am helping people to enjoy the clean water. After abundant rains, there’s a lot of silt gathering and then I have a lot of work to do. I like working and it doesn’t matter the place”, he says.

The season of cleaning the wells is usually opened at the beginning of the spring and ends late in the fall. The well sinker says that the new accessories are very useful, as they improve the quality of the carried on works and will allow Mr. Rusu to diversify the work services. “Thanks to the support of ‘Valea Cuboltei’ LAG, I refine my skills. Until now, I was working with my old utensils and I did not have the possibility to buy a video camera and a drill press”, Petru Rusu mentions.

The camera is descended in the well, and thanks to the computer work, the well sinker sees what is happening in this structure, if there’s any strange object. “In the past years, I was managing to clean up to ten wells per season, but this device might increase people’s interest, as I have all the necessary equipment for a high-quality operation”, Mr. Rusu points out.

The project “The Development of the wells’ structure cleaning business through the modernisation of the equipment”, implemented by Petru rusu from Hasnasenii Mari village, Drochia district, was implemented within the USAID LEADER Activity project, co-financed by the United States Agency for International Development – USAID, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, cooperation programme for development – Polish aid, and implemented by Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova.

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Grosu Family, “Hora Ciulucului” LAG: “One’s soul gets happier when realizing that you can do something at home”

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27 November 2020
Visits: 136

Exploring the rural potential is one of the chosen development priorities of many Local Action Groups in the Republic of Moldova.

This is why, our team decided to tell you about a touristic initiative of the “Hora Ciulucului” LAG – “Casa din Vale”, that was co-financed within the “USAID LEADER project” to decorate and enhance the yard of their rural house with colorful yet necessary items, that will delight the souls of those that are in love with nature and good food.

“Back in 2018, we decided to open our family’s rural house”, Andrei Grosu tells us, the “Casa din Vale” owner. “Taking into consideration that we have many tourists, my wife and I had the idea to decorate the pension’s space with a garden house and a swing, so that both the adults and the children could spend their time in a nice, calm atmosphere.”

The rural house is in the heart of the Chiscareni village, Singerei district, and it can host up to four people – there are two rooms by two places. “When we opened it, we didn’t have many guests, but, slowly, the world started finding out about us. Now, we’re on Booking.com. We hope to have more tourists, especially since our country is among the off-the-beaten-path travel destinations in Europe”, Mr. Grosu said.

The Grosu family developed a business in their home country, as they know they can offer high-quality services in great conditions, promote the traditional dishes and local historical places that deserve to be visited. “We have the Casso hill with the boyar’s cave – he left so many old and beautiful things that have been recently renovated.”

“I told myself that I needed to come back home”, Mr. Grosu mentions while telling us about his working experience abroad. “I couldn’t see how my child is growing up or how my family is developing. And, you know, one’s soul gets happier when realizing that you can do something at home. Before the rural house, we were developing a beekeeping business. We then opened the house and I could stay closer to my family”, he adds.

“I think we all need a lot of courage to overcome our personal fears, and projects like these give an impulse to move further – the co-financing and the personal contribution is a perfect combination to create something beautiful in Moldova, so we could attract more and more international guests to visit our picturesque places and, with their support, to stay home.”

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Tamara Conica, “Bastina Gospodarului” LAG: “The kindergarten is a safer space now – a wonderful feature for the institution’s activity”

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27 November 2020
Visits: 109

The rural development is an ongoing process, which is manifested through many results. One of them is the improvement of the conditions within early education institutions.

“The project started from a simple desire – the one to improve the playful environment of the village’s children”, Tamara Conica, the Cucuruzeni kindergarten’s teacher, tells us. “Parents, teachers, children – we all had this desire”, she adds.

This project was carried on within the “Bastina Gospodarului” LAG and the new space looks just amazing and, what is most important, safe for those 68 children, aged from three to seven years old that attend the institution. “We’ve gathered our team, prepared the project, the budget list and, supported by the local administration, we’ve implemented it. We are so happy. It is a space, where all of the celebrations, morning gymnastics, sports activities will take place – so it’s a wonderful feature for our institution’s activity” Mrs. Conica explains.

The institution plans to improve other aspects of the interior yard, as well. “This is a place for children’s development, so it needs to be in a better condition – we have to repair the fence, to find a storage space, to renovate the institution’s façade, to change the doors, so the space is warmer. We’re also thinking of a new sports area or a festivity hall”, Mrs. Conica adds. 

The teacher’s piece of advice for those who want to improve their rural communities is to participate in projects, such as “USAID LEADER Activities”. “Don’t be afraid, everything is real”, she emphasizes.

The “Paving a playground area”, implemented by the Cucuruzeni Kindergarten, Orhei district, was implemented within the USAID LEADER Activity project, co-finance by the United States Agency for International Development – USAID, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, programme for development cooperation – Polish aid and implemented by Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova. 

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Galina Mihai, “Bastina Gospodarului” LAG: You have to be fearless in writing projects and implementing them

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27 November 2020
Visits: 114

In the middle of November, we’ve embarked on a trip to the commune of Cucuruzeni – we have so many interesting projects in the “Bastina Gospodarului” LAG, so our team decided to go there and talk to the locals about the achieved results.

One of the projects is “Confort la Biblioteca” (in En: “Comfort in the library”). A priority for the LAG is the Sports, culture and recreational services development, and Galina Mihai, a librarian in the village, managed to create the necessary comfort for all the visitors of the Cucuruzeni Library.

“This institution was founded in 1974. Its windows and door haven’t been changed for quite a while – we’ve heated the place with the help of the fireplace, but it was useless, as it was cold no matter what”, Mrs. Mihai tells us. “We’ve knocked on many doors, searching for financial support for the partial renovation of the library and we’re thankful that we’ve found it in the LAG, as we’ve changed what we needed and we’re feeling warm”.

Mrs. Galina has been working as a librarian for eight years. “This is the cultural-educational centre of the area, and we’ve been collaborating with the gymnasium, House of Culture, the health centre – in short, with everyone”, she says. The library also has volunteers. “At the moment, we have 514 library subscribers, and almost 140 of them are the school’s pupils, and the rest – the locals of Cucuruzeni. The library is used under diverse aspects – as a place to find a variety of books, including the ones on the village’s  history, and as a place with a free access to the worldwide web, as the institution, within another national project, acquired new computers and internet service”, Mrs. Mihai adds.

Our team had the chance to get to know a few pupils from the local school, and some of the artists, that enchanted us with beautiful songs about their village under the accordion rhythms. We’ve heard some stories and some fables.

“My advice to those that want to make a change – make it and be fearless in writing projects and implementing them. It’s important to write simple, yet sincere projects, so everyone understands the needs of the community”, Mrs. Galina urges.

The “Comfort in the library”, implemented by the Cucuruzeni Library, Orhei district, was implemented within the USAID LEADER Activity project, co-finance by the United States Agency for International Development – USAID, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, programme for development cooperation – Polish aid and implemented by Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova.

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Success stories

Ciuciuieni Mayoralty, “Hora Ciulucului” LAG: “There’s life and motion in villages”

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23 March 2020
Visits: 96

The inhabitants of the Ciuciuieni village, Singerei district, have a new reason to celebrate – there’s a new, modern recreational area for children and their parents, that want to rest in a peaceful and active atmosphere.

Determined to make the necessary changes in her village, Mrs. Mayor of Ciuciuieni and the president of the “Hora Ciulucului” LAG, Violeta Vitu, stated that every year, during the summer holidays, many people from all around the world, come back to the village. “We’ve noticed that especially children didn’t have any specific activities or games. There’s life and motion in the villages — this is a fortunate thing and gives me an impulse to continue my work. We decided to start with the park’s improvement, and then we will develop the touristic potential of the region.

In order to design the play area, we’ve acquired recreational equipment — a seesaw, a swing-set, a merry-go-round, a drawing board and a play set. We have carefully chosen the company that was going to deliver us the equipment, because we wanted to put the accent on the quality, eco-friendly materials and the type of wood used in the construction of the play-set, these being the decisive arguments”, Mrs. Vitu tells us.

Mrs. Mayor says that the works that follow will be about the pavement and the installation of a protection fence, the placement of waste bins and of the rest benches, so that the time the kids spend in the Ciuciuieni park is fun and secure.

According to Violeta Vitu, the play area will have an educational goal, because there will be organized many open-air event for the kindergarten and for the primary school. Another reason why she opted to improve the play area in Ciuciuieni is the psychoemotional development of the children. “There are children with different needs, some like football, checks, drawing, there are other shy kids, and those that integrate themselves easier easier in the activities.

The “Improvement of the play area in Ciuciuieni village” project, implemented by Ciuciuieni mayoralty, Singerei district, was implemented within the USAID LEADER Activity project, co-financed by the United States Agency for International Development – USAID, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, cooperation programme for development – Polish Aid, and implemented by Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova.

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