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Recent years have shown, once again, how important investments in Moldova’s agriculture are, especially in horticulture. Drought, frost or hail can cause significant losses. Meanwhile, some Moldovan farmers have been finding solutions.

One example is Victor Scutaru, who has been farming since 2003. The success of the Scutaru Victor Farm proves that the right kind of effort gives the right kind of result. For Scutaru, this meant anti-hail nets and an irrigation system to ensure a reliable, bountiful harvest.

Scutaru started his business with 40 hectares of orchards and now owns 100 hectares, 90 ha of which are apple trees and 10 ha cherries. Half of his orchards are super intensive, covered with anti-hail netting. Between 2019 and 2021, the grower was able to access three loans worth €360,000 altogether, with the help of the Livada Moldovei project under the EU4Business Initiative. The money lent by the European Union through the EIB paid for seedlings, and his anti-hail and irrigation systems.

“One of the side benefits of the Livada Moldovei Project is that beneficiaries are exempt from 20% VAT,” Victor Scutaru explains. We get to borrow at preferential rates, with a four-year repayment period, which makes it possible to succeed in developing a business in the first years and to recover investments as soon as possible.”

Even though it is one of the riskiest areas, agriculture continues to be attractive to young people, and some young Moldovans are launching businesses and making significant investments to enter the market with quality products. Among them is Cristina Marcenco, a 26-year-old from the village of Baurci Moldoveni. She invested in a wine business in 2017, and now owns 10 ha of vineyards.

“Through the EU Livada Moldovei project, I received a loan of €34,000,” Marcenco says. “I invested this into building a small facility to store grapes at the proper temperature in winter.”

Like any other serious business, farm businesses become successful when the owners undertake a proper analysis of the market, and when the grower is not afraid to work and invest. This was the approach of two young businesswomen, Mihaela Belitei and Daniela Loziuc. Together, they manage an agricultural company called Damiagro SRL, which specializes in growing cereal crops: corn, sunflower and wheat.

“We work side by side to grow and modernize our business, and we especially focus on new technologies,” says Daniela Loziuc, who manages Damiagro SRL. “This business was founded by our parents, starting with 17 hectares, an old tractor, a willingness to work—and optimism, because farmers have to be optimists.”

With the support of EU4Business, through the EIB Guarantee Facility Project, the company has been able to borrow on more favourable terms: lower interest rates and reduced collateral requirements. A 70% discount from standard collateral requirements was granted.

With the money obtained, the two partners purchased farm machinery and equipment that allow them to apply modern tillage technologies, obtain a quality product and have a greater competitive edge on the market—all which is summed up as a successful farming operation.

The Livada Moldovei project is a credit line provided with the support of the EU4Business initiative through the EIB, which issued its first loans in 2016 and is still available. Beneficiaries of the project are entrepreneurs who want to implement a project in horticulture and related areas. Eligible activities include:

  • Reviving unproductive plantations and planting new ones (fruits, vegetables, berries, table and wine grapes);
  • Establishing plant nurseries or green houses;
  • Purchasing farm equipment and mechanizing harvesting processes;
  • Installing drip irrigation and anti-freeze and anti-hail systems;
  • Marketing of vegetables and fruits;
  • Installing cold storage systems
  • Beekeeping.
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