Organic farming can help Moldova overcome sustainable development challenges
Development of organic agriculture and greening of conventional farming can help Moldova respond to economic and environmental challenges, and ensure its sustainable development. This is the conclusion of a round table, organized today by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry and the Ministry of Environment in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Moldova and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) during which the ”National Study on Organic Agriculture and Greening of Conventional Farming” was presented.
According to the study, ecological farming is on rise in Moldova, contributing significantly to Moldovan agricultural exports. While only 1.7% of farming lands are processed „organically”, exports of organic produce represent over 11% of all agricultural exports. At the same time, subsidies in organic agriculture, including in fresh fruits, are limited. In the last years, they constitute 0.7% of total subsidies in agriculture, while subventions for pesticides and fertilizers amount to 12.1%.
Ministers of Agriculture and Environment, who attended the event, emphasized the importance the Moldovan Government attaches to finding durable economic solutions in agriculture and other sectors of the economy.
„Moldova has a great potential for the development of organic farming, while only about 50% of the European market of organic products is covered. I am convinced that with joint efforts and using all the tools at our disposal, we will able to capitalize on the opportunity to conquer the European market and its 500 million consumers”, said Vasile Bumacov, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry.
According to Environment Minister Valentina Țapiș, organic farming is a priority of the international agenda for sustainable development. “It’s not easy to transition to organic farming – we need investment, a close collaboration between institutions, and concerted efforts to develop this sector. But we're at the stage when we must make a conscious decision, and take that quality leap towards what we call organic farming,” said Minister Țapiș.
Participants at the round table put forth several options for improving existing financial mechanisms and subsidies for farmers in order to promote green agriculture in Moldova. These include an eco-systemic approach to processing farmland and avoiding soil erosion, judicious investments focused on research programs with a practical component, farmers’ education and awareness, stimulating transition to organic agriculture, and increased subsidies to organic farmers.
According to Narine Sahakyan, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Moldova, ”green development can contribute to Moldova’s transformation by helping its economy to become vibrant, and its environment cleaner for future generations. Such a transformation will touch human lives in numerous ways and it will require united efforts by public authorities, private businesses, and local communities.”
The study was conducted by NGO ”International Development Alternatives” and a team of local and international experts, and funded by the UNDP/GEF Environmental Fiscal Reform Project in Moldova.
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