EU Fruit Garden project supports investments in modern agriculture
A unique technology-based harvesting machine was imported from France and was put into operation in a Vulcanesti almond orchard.
With the vibration-based harvesting machine, it is possible to harvest almonds from an area of 10 hectares in just 10 hours. Thus, while harvesting could previously take months, it now takes around 3 weeks.
“Harvesting technology consists of three parts. It has two machines for collection and a machine that functions on vibration. There are 8 types of vibration for younger, larger and extremely large trees. There are different vibration regimes that are intended to preserve the tree. We have made an effort to buy efficient, state-of-the-art machinery so that we can compete with producers on the foreign market, as the domestic market is small,” said Mariana Topciu, the cooperative’s commercial director.
Established in 2019, the Almonds Company cooperative from Comrat has brought together 6 almond producers, who together own 170 hectares of orchards located in the districts of Anenii Noi, Basarabeasca, Nisporeni, the municipality of Chisinau, as well as in ATU Gagauzia. In order to improve their work efficiency and to become more competitive on the domestic and foreign markets, producers have decided to invest in new technologies.
The cooperative has received a loan of 410,000 EUR within the framework of the Livada Moldovei project, supported by the European Union through the European Investment Bank. Producers benefited from consultancy and were exempted from paying VAT and import duties on machinery.
60,000 EUR partly covered the purchase of the vibration harvesting machine. The remainder of the loan allowed the purchase of production machines for almond shelling (500 kg/hour), almond sorting machines (800 kg/hour) and flour production. Keen to grow and expand the list of products they supply, members of the cooperative are determined to join forces for better yields.
“Our cooperative is open to all producers, we are ready to help them because we ourselves have faced problems that we could not solve alone, but only by joining forces and reaching a new level, comparable to the European and American one,” stated Mariana Topciu.
The cooperative’s producers say that 80% of this year’s harvest will be exported to countries such as Romania, Italy, Ukraine and Iraq.
According to official data, there are more than 20,000 hectares of walnut, hazelnut and almond orchards in the Republic of Moldova.
Since the launch of the Livada Moldovei credit line, more than 280 investment projects have benefited from EU funds provided through the European Investment Bank. There is currently a fund of around 60 million EUR to be made available to other beneficiaries in the framework of the Livada Moldovei project.