Subventions for organic farming are limited, study

Organic agriculture is developing intensively in Moldova, contributing significantly to exports. While only 1.7% of the total farmland in the country is being farmed according to organic principles, the fruit and vegetables grown here account for 11% of the total agricultural exports. However, the subventions provided to support organic agriculture are limited, as found by the authors of a national study on organic farming that will be published next week, IPN reports.

According to preliminary information provided by UNDP Moldova, in the last few years subventions for organic farming represented a mere 0.7% of the total subsidies available, while subventions for the use of fertilizers and pesticides constituted 12.1%.

Exports of fresh fruit and vegetables account for over 30% of the total agricultural exports, depending on season and the state of relationships with the trade partners. The study has found that the subventions offered for growing organic fruits is far below the current and future needs, reducing the interest of small and mid-sided growers in further developing this niche.

On the local market, few companies have decided to invest in organic fresh fruit production and in environment-friendly practices. Constraints include the lack of the necessary infrastructure for sorting, palletizing and labeling the produce, the lack of technology and funds, including in the final phase of the chain value, the lack of instruments to promote exports, and limited awareness about the opportunities offered by the foreign markets.

The study recommends improving the existing subvention system and other mechanisms designed to stimulate agriculture. The advancement of organic agriculture and the extension of the measures for “greening” conventional farming may help Moldova respond to the global environmental challenges to ensure a sustainable socioeconomic and ecological development of the country.

The study was carried out by a team of local and international experts (Germany, Romania), commissioned by the UNDP/GEF Program, to support fiscal and environmental reform in Moldova.

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