Post-Soviet rural areas towards European integration

The difficult transition of Moldova

Authored by: Simone Piras

The Routledge handbook of comparative rural policy

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138594111
eBook ISBN: 9780429489075
Adobe ISBN:


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The Republic of Moldova is a post-Soviet rural country located at the border of the European Union (EU). After having been an important provider of agri-food products to the rest of the USSR (later CIS), in 2009 it decided to pursue integration into the EU economic space. Five years later, its government and the EU signed an Association Agreement, which includes also a Free Trade Agreement. This represents both an opportunity and a risk for Moldovan rural areas, where most citizens are living, and where agriculture is still the main economic activity. To access the EU market, local agri-food products must conform to the preferences of EU consumers and comply with more advanced safety regulations. This implies a process of land consolidation and modernization of the small family farms born after land privatization. International and state-based development agencies are assisting the country in introducing reforms to foster agricultural productivity and reduce the enduring rural poverty. This chapter provides an overview of Moldovan rural areas and of the policy strategy elaborated by the national government, in collaboration with international actors, to achieve these goals. Two development projects implemented after 2009 are taken as case studies to identify their main achievements and failures.

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