Agribusiness Development Project


CNFA’s Agribusiness Development Project (ADP) in Moldova improved the international competitiveness and trade performance of the country’s high-value agriculture (HVA) sector, ultimately increasing rural incomes and employment. The $12.5 million program, funded by USAID, had enormous success in preparing Moldovan enterprises to meet the rigorous challenges of the international market. ADP worked throughout the high-value agriculture sector in Moldova by strengthening the capacity of all participants in the value chain: producers, processors, aggregators, and exporters. Our approach emphasized identification of markets for individual products, the use of value-chain drivers, production of marketable products, financing for replication and dissemination of market information.

Program Approach:

Development of the High-Value Agriculture Sector: We focused on developing the high-value agriculture by increasing the quality of crops through new technologies, including cold storage, better pre- and post-harvest handling techniques, and improved seeds. By the end of the project, participating firms had exported over $105 million in processed agricultural products, an increase of more than 23 percent.

International Quality Assurance & Certifications: In order boost exports to higher-value international markets, CNFA facilitated massive gains in crop quality assurance. Exacting standards on the international market and high-quality imports on the domestic market called for large scale certification of Moldovan agriculture. More than 7,000 people received training in production, post-harvest handling and marketing, and 3,550 were trained in GLOBALGAP standards, HACCP, food quality and food safety. As a result, 13 processors received the HACCP and food safety certifications required to export to the EU. In addition, 8 growers received GLOBALGAP fresh produce safety certification and can access to the EU market.

Expanding Access to Markets: In the context of Russia’s 2005 embargo on Moldovan fresh fruits and vegetables, ADP began identifying and cataloging new markets for Moldovan produce. Target market conformation studies were conducted in Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, Poland and the Baltics to assess the demand and market qualifications for 12 products, including apples, sweet peppers, tomatoes, table grapes, and other fresh fruits and vegetables. Following these early assessments, ADP conducted more detailed rapid market appraisals in Romania, Ukraine and Russia to give greater market detail and even identify specific buyers. Domestic and international study tours followed to allow more than 1,500 people to make important international buying contacts. Counting first sales alone, ADP clients made new business linkages worth roughly $4 million.

Leveraging Private Investment Through Matching Grants: We employed matching grants to increase local buy-in and promote investment in new technologies. ADP awarded 23 producers and processors with grants worth $1.3 million; with a matching ratio of 2:1, the grants leveraged an additional $2.9 million from local enterprises. Grants were used to introduce and implement modern technologies, such as cold storage and new drying facilities. As a result of adoption, producers were able to increase their annual sales from $500,000 to over $4.2 million, almost $2 million of which was in high-value products. Similarly, processors increased their sales of high-value products from $1.3 million to $6.1 million.

Promoting Market Information: To ensure producers and processors had access to the latest market information and training material, CNFA worked with the National Extension Network, a local Moldovan non-profit development agency, to create the Export Moldova website. Export Moldova provided market surveys and training materials on international safety certifications, modern agricultural practices as well as planning and management.

Program Impact:

  • $105 million of high-value fresh and processed agricultural products exported by client companies over a three-year period with final year exports of $34.3 million, representing a 23% increase over the baseline year;
  • Eight producer marketing organizations created and/or forested to support improved marketing of HVA fresh export products;
  • 23 matching grants made to producers (18) and processors (5) worth a total of $1.3 million that leveraged $2.9 million in Moldovan enterprise investment;
  • 100 small grower grants totaling $200,000 made through the National Extension Network (ACSA) leveraged $260,000 in small farmer investments;
  • $7.5 million of investments generated by ADP activities (50% above the targeted $5 million) for 88 clients to build new or expand existing cold storages and greenhouses, install new processing lines and expand the use of drip irrigation systems.