Washington, May 1, 2012 — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$ 18 million credit and a US$ 4.4 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant for the Moldova Agricultural Competitiveness Project. The project aims to enhance the competitiveness of Moldova’s agro-food sector through: (i) supporting the modernization of the food safety management system; (ii) facilitating market access for farmers; and (iii) mainstreaming agro-environmental and sustainable land management practices.
“The Moldova Agricultural Competitiveness Project will help enhance key elements of the country’s agriculture sector competitiveness by focusing on important institutional development aspects and direct support to farmers,” said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Manager for Moldova. “The GEF financed component will assist the Government’s actions to pilot and propagate a wide range of sustainable land management practices to reduce land degradation.”
The proposed project will contribute to the realization of the economic growth model described in the 2011-2014 Government of Moldova Program that is based on three pillars: investment, innovation and competitiveness. Agriculture is one of the largest sectors of the Moldovan economy and is regarded as a potentially important engine of growth. To this end, the project will support reforms aimed at enhancing export competitiveness, facilitating market access for farmers, supporting agricultural business development through consulting and training, ensuring regulatory harmonization with EU food safety requirements, attracting investments and achieving closer trade integration with the European Union through a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.
With GEF funding the project will provide regulatory and institutional support, capacity building for sustainable land management (SLM), and financial support for piloting SLM. Global environmental benefits will be achieved from increased stability of agro-ecosystems, increased levels of carbon sequestration, and reduced land degradation including erosion and pollution with agricultural chemicals. Specifically, the GEF funding will support methodological and analytical work for soil quality and land degradation risk-assessment, land quality certification, and standard setting to ensure that the best soil management practices are integrated in the policy and regulatory framework for food safety management.
The GEF unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Since 1991, GEF has provided US$ 9 billion in grants and leveraged US$ 40 billion in co-financing for over 2,600 projects in over 165 countries.
Since Moldova joined the World Bank in 1992, a total of US$ 880 million have been allocated to 42 operations in the country. Currently, the World Bank portfolio includes 11 active projects with total commitments of US$ 281 million. Areas of support include education, social assistance, e-governance, healthcare, energy, agriculture, business development, and others.