An extensive analysis, regarding the identification of highlights for investments and the growth of exports of Moldovan agricultural products, the most important of the agro-industrial complex in the Republic of Moldova, which would lead to the increase of food security and the development of a modern agriculture, was developed by the economic policy expert of the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) "Viitorul", Viorel Chivriga. The study has three chapters that analyze the foreign trade of the Republic of Moldova with food products, vegetable products and animal products. At the end are made conclusions and recommendations.
According to the study, the structure of Moldovan exports is dominated by agri-food products, which constitute about 50% of the total exports. At the moment, most of them are oriented towards EU countries. Exports of agri-food products are not stable and depend on external and internal factors. For example, the suspension of exports of plant, animal and alcoholic beverages to the Russian Federation in 2005-2006 was reduced due to a lack of flexibility in the activity of both agro-food producers and exporters and the authorities. Imports of agri-food products in the Republic of Moldova, which are increasing, started with the disaggregation of the old agri-food system, inherited in the 90s.
The vegetable sector is characterized by small productions and low yields in almost all types of agricultural crops. Trends are influenced by inefficient use of production resources, both natural and human and material. The plant sector is vulnerable to natural calamities. Another destabilizing factor is the fragility of the rural market, which is in the process of formation. The agricultural market is characterized by instability, strong price fluctuations, lack of balance between demand and supply of plant products, frequent threats to the country's food security, etc. In order to change the negative trends, the sector must be modernized by the technical equipment of agricultural entities, the expansion of irrigation, the optimization of agricultural structures and the increase of the types of cultivated agricultural crops. It is also important to expand the consulting services in agriculture, lending, etc.
Regarding the trade in animal products, the study says that the sector, during the transition to the market economy, experienced colossal metamorphoses. In the period 1980-2022, the cattle herd decreased from 1 million 150 thousand heads to 104 thousand. The situation is similar at the swine herd, from 2 million 079 thousand heads to almost 348 thousand heads. During this period, the number of sheep decreased slowly, from 1 million 207 thousand animals to 433.8 thousand heads. The number of horses decreased from 54 thousand to 19.8 thousand. Livestock increases were recorded in goats, from 19 thousand to 140 thousand; domestic rabbits, from 365 thousand heads to 385 thousand, and to bee families, from 168 to 191 thousand families.
According to the expert, organic agriculture in the Republic of Moldova is a sector with great potential, but it has not developed properly. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry, in 2020 there were 152 registered ECO producers, cultivating 71 ECO agricultural crops, producing 53 ECO products. In 2019, their number was 144 entrepreneurs, 87 crops and 65 ECO products. The area of ECO crops in the last two decades had an unstable evolution and varied from 80 ha in 2003 to 29,352 ha in 2020. The forecast for the expansion of areas for organic agricultural production, according to the National Program on organic agricultural production, approved in February 2006, the current indices are lower than the forecast for the year 2010, when 31100 ha were estimated.
The study was developed within the project "Strengthening Knowledge Management for Greater Development Effectiveness in the Near East, North Africa, Central Asia and Europe (SKiM)" funded by the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The project also collaborates with international partners such as CIHEAM-Bari, PROCASUR, Virginia Tech, as well as National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), governments, and agricultural extension services in Moldova, Morocco, and Sudan.