Moldova produces only a small amount of their actual dairy production needs, and much of it is imported in the form of powered milk, which is then reconstituted for fluid milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. At one time there were many large collective dairies that provided for their need, but those have disappeared after the breakup of the collective farms.
Since that time, there are few operating dairy farms in Moldova, and while some families may own a cow, there is a lack of quality dairy products available. While the current world dairy economy is not very encouraging, there is still an opportunity to provide healthy, affordable, quality dairy products locally.
One of these is the dairy at Dancu operated by Tabita Agriculture Association. Along with other charitable organizations, AgConnect Ministries and Agriservice Moldova have supported this effort with financial assistance, technical advice, as well as the support they have been giving in the growing of crops. AgConnect Ministries created a Dairy Development Plan which prioritized the improvements that needed to be made as well as approximate costs for each phase of the project.
The progress that has been made in the past year has been very encouraging, as more cows have been added, new milking equipment has been purchased, and the construction of a calf facility has been completed. Along with these improvements, members of the association have visited the US the past 3 years as guests of AgConnect Ministries and AgriService Moldova to
improve their cheesemaking operation as well as all aspects of their total dairy operation.
While there is still much to be done to complete this revitalization project, the improvements that have been made have produced positive results. With the addition of irrigation in 2015, the dairy is assured that adequate forages can be supplied to feed the dairy herd.
Ag Connect Ministries is also helping several other small dairies get established, which is an area that has been increasing in demand. One of these was the establishment of a small dairy in the village of Gotesti.
With some financial assistance they were able to purchase a small property, build some facilities, establish an alfalfa field, purchase some animals and start their dairy. They currently have 6 cows and a bull. They are producing some of the highest quality, best tasting dairy products that can be found anywhere in the world.
They are marketing such products as whole milk, butter, cheese and yogurt to various shops in Cahul, being able to command a premium price for their products in spite of the economy. They are also renting some cropland to grow corn and alfalfa, and are continuing to make improvements to their facilities.
In addition to providing a way to support themselves, this has been a huge encouragement to them in their personal and spiritual lives. This change in their lives has been noticeable to others and has carried over into their church and their community.
They would like to expand their dairy operation and grow to a herd of 30 or 40 cows. They certainly have the work ethic, desire and management ability to run a successful dairy operation, but this would require a considerable amount of resources to acquire the land for the operation, build adequate facilities and the equipment to establish this type of dairy operation.
Please pray for the resources to help them in realizing their desire.
Another area in which AgConnect Ministries has been involved in Dairy Development is to provide technical assistance to other ministries and organizations who would like to start their own dairy. With AgConnect Ministries experiences and expertise in developing dairy operations, the goal of providing affordable quality dairy products in Moldova can become a reality.
With the improvement of the cheesemaking operation, several new varieties of cheeses are now being made. They have developed the “Dancu” brand, and are selling their cheese in numerous shops and large grocery stores in Chisinau and other major cities. The excellent quality has garnered attention and some awards as they get more exposure and expand their markets. During the summer of 2019 one major project was to renovate the bunker silo at the dairy. This has greatly improved the quality of silage fed to the animals, and makes it much easier for the workers to take silage from the bunker to the feeding troughs. Another important improvement was the installation of a pipeline milking system which has improved milk quality, as the milk goes directly from the cow to the milk tank. It has also greatly improved the ability to keep the equipment properly sanitized. These improvements are helping to ensure a better quality cheese.