The European Investment Bank financed 1.2 million EUR of investments in beekeeping during the last 2 years, through Livada Moldovei Project.

In Moldova, beekeeping is an important subsector of the economy through the impact it has on pollinating arable and horticulture crops as well as through the honey it produces which is sold at more than 90% to the European market. Since 2016, the EU through the EIB made available a 120-million EUR credit line for entrepreneurs from the horticulture and beekeeping subsectors. With this finance, beekeepers in Moldova can increase the number of beehives, improve processing and packing units and explore new sales directions. In 2020 and 2021, four companies benefitted from this programme investing altogether 1.2 million EUR into developing their beekeeping businesses.

Bees represent an important link in sustaining life on earth. They are renowned for providing high-quality food (honey, royal jelly and pollen) and other products used in healthcare and other sectors (beeswax, propolis, honey bee venom). However, the greatest contribution of bees and other pollinators is the pollination of nearly three quarters of all plant species.

These plants produce 90% of the world’s food. Globally, almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of crops depend on bee pollination. With 20,000 bees of a single family swarming out of a hive several times a day, 20 million flowers or more are pollinated each day. In 2018, there were approximately 165,000 bee families in Moldova pollinating about 350,000 ha of agricultural land (of which 40% horticultural) which allowed for an increase of harvest by 20-30% translating into an annual value of beekeeping of over 35 million EUR.

Currently, there are more than 7,800 beekeepers registered in Moldova. In 2020, about 3,500 tons of honey were produced and 3,300 tons were exported. More than 90% of the Moldovan honey reaches the European market, with Italy, France, Slovakia, Romania, Poland and Germany being the main customer countries.

he European Union (EU) is not just the main trading partner, but also the main financing external source for Moldovan beekeepers. The EU through the European Investment Bank (EIB) made available a credit line of 120 million EUR for horticulturists and beekeepers from Moldova. The programme is called Fruit Garden of Moldova (Livada Moldovei). It offers VAT and customs taxes exemption for all financed investments, long loan periods of up to 10 years, competitive interest rates and support at the application stage. Within the project, 59 million EUR can still be drawn until 2023. In 2020 and 2021 four companies with activities in beekeeping applied to Livada Moldovei totally taking investment loans of 1.2 million EUR. By this, they were able to become more competitive.

Foto: Mihai Curjos

One of them is Mihai Curjos. He is a 30-years old entrepreneur managing a small beekeeping business in Larga Noua, Cahul. He is a third-generation beekeeper, as his grandfather had beehives in the yard since 1970 and Mihai’s father followed in his grandfather’s footsteps. While they practiced beekeeping at an amateur level with 20-30 beehives, Mihai raised the business to 100 beehives, but in 2018 he decided to develop it to 200 beehives. Through the Livada Moldovei project, the entrepreneur benefitted from a loan of 10,000 EUR. With this money, he purchased 100 beehives and some equipment like a centrifuge for 42 frames, uncapping equipment and a wax melting machine.