The European Union granted about Euro 3 Million to the EU funded project „Development of rural areas in the Republic of Moldova”, implemented by the Austrian Development Agency in consortium with the Austrian Association Donau Soja International and the Moldovan NGO Pro Didactica.

The first part of the EU funded project „Development of rural areas in the Republic of Moldova” (hereinafter – DevRAM) focuses on increasing the competitiveness of the agrifood sector through integration to domestic and global value chains, in particular in the soybeans sector. This aims at increasing production as well as export of Moldovan soybeans and soybean products, especially the GMO-free ones. Developing soybean value chains means developing good farming and food systems that bring wider economic, environmental and social benefits.
The Donau Soja Association trains Moldovan farmers in environmentally friendly agriculture technologies, business plan development, providing technological support and know-how transfer, seeds distribution and soy demo-fields platforms, access to EU export markets and certification of products. At the same time, it supports development of technical capacity of the country by contribution to development of the National Agricultural Strategies and Standards, providing know-how transfer to policy makers as well as local agronomists.
A substantial support is provided to reform the agricultural vocational education in Moldova by revising occupational and qualification standards, curricula, building the capacities of VET institutions and connecting the agri-VET education to the business community. Increasing the quality of education and training courses, the positive image of Vocational Education and Training, not only will attract new students, but to better prepare them for the labour market and private sector demands will finally also help to reduce unemployment, the flow of citizens who leave the country in search for a job, and the rate of the population at risk of poverty, vulnerability or social exclusion. A series of information and training activities as well as school equipment are provided by Educational Center Pro Didactica.
In the last semester Donau Soja purchased a new seeding machine for Selectia Institute from Balti; conducted a sociological survey on acceptance by Moldovan society of genetically modified organisms; presented to experts the results from 2020 soy demo-fields; organized the training for farmers on financial literacy and business planning, as well as access to finances and compensations; produced a Feasibility Study for the investment in a local soybean processing facility.
On the educational aspect of the project, the Educational Centre Pro Didactica renovated and refurbished a new laboratory in Svetly VET school for “Electrification of agriculture” students; presented in an inter-sectorial workshop new strategies for improving agri-VET education for Agronomy, Technology of vegetable origin products specialties; developed and approved a new curricula and support materials on ecological agriculture for 25 professions and specialties from agri-VET and also trained 20 teachers. The Curriculum on Quality Standards was revised and presented to VET teachers in an on-line session with the participation of 12 VET teachers; the Methodology for Occupational Standards Development was updated and approved through Governmental Decision #678 from 10th September 2020 as well 6 occupational standards – Technician in the food industry, Line operator in the food industry, Mechanical technician, Veterinary paramedic, Machinist Ruler, Quality assurance technician have been developed by the Sectoral Committee Agroinvest and started to be implemented by Ministry of Education, Research and Culture of Republic of Moldova.

11 new web pages for agri-VET schools were launched and interconnected with the official web portal of the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment of Republic of Moldova; a film to promote the agri-VET Education in Moldova was produced with the participation of VET and business community, ACO Chisinau and EU Delegation to Republic of Moldova. The film will be broadcasted on TV channels and social media to attract more students to agri-VET. The Vocational School of Bubuieci will launch a new education program – “Vegan and vegetarian cuisine”, it will be integrated in the professional training process for the specialty “Chef”, based on the developed curriculum.
For the next semester DevRAM has planned more activities and events that will lead to achieving our main goals on increasing the competitiveness of the agri-food sector and improving the VET schools and their image amongst the Moldovan students.