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

  • Rural Development
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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