16 December 2010, Rome - The Government of Romania has signed its first-ever contribution agreement with FAO, putting its not so distant past as a recipient country behind it, and undertaking to provide neighbouring Republic of Moldova with significant financial assistance.
The funds supplied by Romania, around $695 000, will be used by FAO to provide technical assistance to the Republic of Moldova during its first General Agriculture Census to be conducted early 2011.
This is also the first time that the Republic of Moldova, a small, low-income, largely agricultural country on Romania's eastern border, will receive significant bilateral assistance from its neighbour.
Reliable agricultural statistics sorely needed
The two-year project will establish a reliable system of agricultural statistics in the Republic of Moldova and harmonize it with European Union practices.
The Government of the Republic of Moldova does collect annual data on registered enterprises, those larger than 10 hectares, but lacks reliable data regarding the country's thousands of small, family-run subsistence farms (under one hectare in size) that are the most vulnerable to food insecurity situations. The census will give special focus to this type of farm-holdings.
The new agricultural census thus will enable future Moldovan policy-makers to make sound market-oriented decisions. It will also provide this small, struggling nation with key benchmark data that will help it calculate the impact of globalization and climate change on its agriculture and rural sectors.
A market-oriented system to be introduced
About 75 percent of the land in the Republic of Moldova is agricultural land and the country's future economic growth depends upon growth of agriculture.
After the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, the country went through two phases of agricultural land privatization and is now planning for integration with the European market.
FAO says that the new Romanian-financed project will lay the foundation for the development of a sound, market-oriented system of agriculture statistics in the Republic of Moldova.
Groundwork for the changeover was laid by a previous FAO-funded technical project that involved expertise from Italy, Poland and Romania. Now the Republic of Moldova, which is also receiving support from Sweden and the United States, will have the opportunity to learn from other European Union countries.