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How Poverty Affects Everyday Life in MoldovaPoverty in Moldova is a common reality for those that live there. Many have had to leave their family, friends and homes to find a job because it is nearly impossible to find one in Moldova due to high unemployment rates. Now imagine being the ones left behind: the family members and life-long friends who are left in a politically torn country. Since Moldova gained its independence in 1991 it has struggled to fight poverty within its borders, affecting everyday life in Moldova. Moldova’s main causes of poverty are immigration due to high unemployment and governmental strife. These factors especially affect the children of Moldova.

Immigration and High Unemployment

Many of Moldova’s citizens are moving out of the country. There are simply not enough jobs for everyone. Doina Grecu, a woman born in Moldova who moved to the U.S. to further her education, said that her father had to find work abroad for several years when she lived in Moldova. Electricity was not stable and was expensive then, so people would only be able to talk to their loved ones every now and then and waited to hear that they were alright. Grecu also recounted that some people traveled from Moldova all the way across Europe to France. Poverty in Moldova has caused many people to leave their homes.

Governmental Strife

Even though Moldova has strengthened its relationship with the EU, it still struggles with poverty because of its conflicting interests in trade. Half of the country believes that they should exclusively trade with Russian because of their history together, and the other half have seen that Europe has prospered in trade and believe that Moldova should trade with them.

To further complicate things, Russia has been known to retaliate if Moldova trades with other countries. Doina Grecu stated that there were videos of Russians destroying apples from Moldova for this very reason. Moldova has uniquely rich soil that makes it an agricultural economy, so this kind of retribution is extremely harmful to these farmers. And while farming is Moldova’s main source of income, the rural areas have an almost five times higher poverty rate than Moldova’s urban areas.

Moldova’s Impoverished Children

Child poverty is significantly high. UNICEF states, “Children in Moldova remain disproportionately poor.” Some children were sent to orphanages, not because they had no parents, but because their parents were unable to care for them, as recounted by Grecu. Other children had to live with their grandparents, who may be unable to properly care for them, while one or both of their parents went abroad to find a job to send money home.

Poverty in Moldova has improved over the years. The non-governmental organization EcoVillage Farms has come up with a way to help Moldova capitalizes on what makes it special. As mentioned before, Moldova’s fertile soil is definitely an asset to Moldova. As such, the country is making the transition to the “quality over quantity” mindset when it comes to what they eat, states Grecu. Since Moldova is mainly an agricultural country, investing in farmers and small businesses will help boost Moldova’s economy and improve everyday life in Moldova. EcoVillage’s goal is to give these upcoming businesses a place to start. A furnished kitchen space will be available for rent for these business owners to practice their craft. Renters can also pay to use other renters’ equipment so as to build a sense of community and learn from each other. In addition, EcoVillage will provide counseling in finance and the logistics of how to start a business.

This NGO’s dream is still in the works, but they are more than halfway to their fundraising goal. When they are finished, this opportunity for small food businesses in the country with help reduce poverty in Moldova by building its economy on its biggest asset: a quality grounds for agriculture.

—Moriah Thomas
Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in Moldova

Moldova, officially the Republic of Moldova, is a landlocked country surrounded by Romania and Ukraine in eastern Europe. Previously part of the Soviet Union, Moldova was then one of the richest countries in Europe. Nowadays, despite its progress in recent years, Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe.

Moldova is mainly an agricultural country, with about 75 percent of its land utilized for farming and agriculture. However, Moldova still suffers from food insecurity and an unstable economy. The economy in Moldova is thwarted by high government spending and low government integrity. Moldova is nearly completely reliant on agricultural exports to other countries.

Recently, Moldovans have introduced initiatives to create sustainable agriculture in Moldova and to enhance the competitiveness of the agro-food sector.

In 2012, the World Bank funded the Moldova Agriculture Competitiveness Project. The goal of this project is to enhance the competitiveness of the agro-food sector by modernizing food safety management, increasing market access for farmers and creating sustainable land management. This will increase Moldovan agricultural exports to other countries, which will lead to future economic growth. Moldova received over $20 million in funding from the World Bank for the project, including additional funding in 2015 and 2016. The project is set to close in 2019.

The Moldovan non-governmental organization EcoVisio was created in 2017. The aim of the organization is to increase awareness and education for sustainable development in Moldova, specifically in establishing sustainable agriculture in Moldova. The organization has a goal of education in the fields of organic agriculture and eco-construction. This will help create food security in Moldova.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has also implemented initiatives within Moldova. Since 2015, the United Nations has spent more than $1 million on creating and strengthening sustainable agriculture in Moldova. In accordance with the Technical Cooperation Program, the FAO has been working to strengthen the food safety system in Moldova. By growing safer and healthier food, Moldovans will be able to create better food security for their country.

Another way that the FAO is trying to create sustainable agriculture in Moldova is through pest control. In particular, the United Nations initiative focuses on integrated pest management, the disposal of obsolete and harmful pesticides and enabling other conditions specific to food safety.

Many of these initiatives have already started to help stabilize the economy. The GDP in 2016 was over $6 million, which, while still low, is slowly rising. Unemployment was also down to just over 4 percent in 2016.

Moldova still has a long way to go before it has a completely sustainable agriculture system. These programs and projects have created a great starting place and have laid the groundwork for Moldovans to build on for many years to come. By creating sustainable agriculture in Moldova, the Moldovan economy will have a better opportunity to stabilize and prosper further.

– Courtney Wallace

Photo: Flickr