Swift modernization is needed to make progress in agricultural sector

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05:20, 10 Dec 2018

Swift modernization is needed to make progress in agricultural sector

IPN News Agency presents a picture of the year in different areas in the view of governmental authorities and independent experts. “2018: how it was and how it wasn’t!?” No.1: Agriculture, regional development and environment

Policies for favorable working environment

Secretary general of state at the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development Iurie Uºurelu said the policies designed in 2018 created a favorable working environment for farmers. The procedure for recognizing authorizations issued by the EU member states was simplified for applicants who asked for the homologation of phytosanitary products, with the state testing within 40 days of the submission of the application being excluded. At the same time, the fertilizers marked as “Fertilizer CE” are accepted for import without homologation and  insertion in the State Register of Phytosanitary Products and Fertilizers.

There were rehabilitated two hectares of wooded strips that protect farmland in a move to stop soil erosion and reconstructed or built 39 aspersion-based irrigation systems, 191 drip irrigation systems and eight water adduction systems. An area of 1,665 hectares of land are now being protected against hail through 132 anti-hail rocket points situated in 24 districts. Financial resources were identified for opening another 20 anti-hail rocket points in 2019.

As to environmental protection, there was created the first biosphere reserve in the Republic of Moldova, “Lower Prut”, under the aegis of UNESCO. There were set up the Inspectorate for Environment Protection and the Environment Agency and also two basin committees and 15 sub-basin committees that will ensure the implementation of the plan for managing the Nistru River Basin District and the plan for managing the Danube–Prut and Black Sea River Basin District.

In the regional development sector, a new concept for implementing public urban and rural development policies that would contribute to enhancing the competiveness of regions started to be worked out, while villages will benefit from new financing methods for developing local infrastructure, diversifying non-agricultural economic activities, preserving cultural heritage and developing social infrastructure . The financial resources planned for implementing water and sewerage infrastructure projects under financing agreements signed in 2018 amount to over €81 million.

Iurie Uºurelu said 100,000 people are to be connected to the water supply and sewerage system in 2019. The approval of the subsidized crop insurance project is another priority. It is also planned to create three integrated waste management systems and to reconstructed an anti- flood system at the Costești - Stânca dam and along the Nistru and Prut Rivers.

Relatively high production, but insufficiently energetic performance on foreign markets  

Viorel Chivriga, expert of the Institute for Development and Social Initiative “Viitorul”, said 2018 is a typical year for Moldova. agriculture. The crops of grains of the first group were medium, of vegetables were lower, while of grains of the second group, technical plants, fruit and grapes were higher. Stagnation was witnessed in the animal-breeding sector, accompanied by the continuous reduction in the number of bred animals. As regards the financing of agriculture, farmers expressed greater interest and the number of applications for financing rose by about 25% on 2017.

Among results, the expert noted the relatively high production in the case of most of the crops, except for grains of the first group and vegetables, and stability in the financing of agriculture. According to Viorel Chivriga, the companies in Moldova were less energetic on foreign markets. Among the shortcomings were the stagnation and lack of reforms in the animal-breeding sector, anemic insurance of production risks in agriculture and the ping-pong in the foreign trade with Russia and also the non-adoption of the Land Code, at legislative level.

As to the prospects next year, Viorel Chivriga said the vegetal sector will face risks related to the grains of the first group owing to the unfavorable weather conditions this autumn. In the animal-breeding sector, changes will not be witnessed if the small and medium-sized farms are not modernized and equipped and the quality of fodder is not raised. Foreign trade in agricultural and agrifood products is expected to grow and diversify.

To make progress in the agricultural sector, the farms should be swiftly and fundamentally modernized, the farmers’ assess to foreign markets should be made safe and the vulnerabilities for the sector should be removed. The problems related to anemic crop insurance, exodus of labor force from rural areas and old agricultural infrastructure, mainly in the irrigation sector, need to be dealt with.

Conclusions and expectations concerning rural development

Mayor of Cimișlia town Gheorghe Rãileanu, vice president of the Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova and a member of the Board of the South Regional Development Agency, said no actions that would match the regional development concept were taken in 2018, while the regional councils didn’t enjoy at least slight decisional autonomy.

The mayor noted he expects the normative, institutional and conceptual frameworks will stagnate. The bureaucratization and deepening of politicization in the use of the regional development fund continue. Money continues to be inefficiently invested in regional development and the formation of regional economic clusters. No rational measures are taken to remedy the demographic situation and to stop the impoverishment of the rural population that continues to worsen. Orchards are being felled and the structure of agriculture is being modified by alarmingly switching over to field crops.

Gheorghe Rãileanu anticipates that no calls for financing will be made in 2019 and the financing of the projects under implementation, which were distributed according to political criteria, will continue. The local initiatives will be further ignored, except those that will come from representatives of the ruling party, but these will have short-term prospects. The decision-making process will continue to be non-transparent and the regional councils will not be effectively engaged in the adoption of decisions.

Maria Prokopchuk, IPN reporter

05:20, 10 Dec 2018

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