A synergy of growth and employment opportunities. A market systems analysis of the berry sector in the Republic of Moldova

With funding from the British Embassy Chisinau through the UK’s Good Governance Fund, the ILO was tasked to conduct a market systems analysis of the berry sector in the Republic of Moldova. The aim of this study was to better understand the market constraints that limit job creation, higher incomes and greater productivity within the sector, particularly in relation to women and persons with disabilities. The study identifies a practical set of evidence-informed actions that address and remove those constraints.

Berry production has been increasing steadily throughout the Republic of Moldova over the last five years. Among the main drivers of this trend is a higher profit margin for berries than any other legal crop. Furthermore, the Agency for State Subsidies and Payments in Agriculture offers a state-funded, post-investment subsidy for investments within the berry sector.

The Republic of Moldova is a predominantly rural country. Just over 100,000 farmers countrywide grow berries. The majority of farmers are subsistence and semi-subsistence farmers who account for 80 per cent of the total harvested area of berries in the country. They mostly grow strawberries but also raspberries, gooseberries, black and red currants, goji berries and blackberries.

The objective of this research is to understand the systemic constraints to, and opportunities for generating greater value and decent employment along the berry value chain in Moldova, focusing on women as the target group and reflecting on the topic of disability where possible. Women account for 39 per cent of the workforce in the agricultural sector in the country. However, estimates from key informants suggest that this figure is much higher for the berry sector, ranging from 70 to 75 per cent.

This analysis has identified three main market constraints as limits on the sustainable development of the berry sector and its potential for the creation of greater added value. A potential intervention strategy has been developed to address the underlying causes of the market constraints flagged in the analysis.