Moldovan agriculture faces deepest crisis in 40 years

The agricultural sector of Moldova is now in a critical situation, which experts view as one of the most difficult crises over the past 40 years, Moldovan Prime Minister Vasiliy Tarlev declared in his speech in the parliament yesterday, devoted to the presentation of the report on the government's work for the first six months of 2003.

The Prime Minister pointed out that about 93 percent of winter barley and 35 percent of winter wheat suffered from winter frosts and a drought in summer. As a result, the wheat harvest was just 1 ton per hectare, and experts expect the total volume of the harvest to fall by 4 or 5 times, compared to that of last year, to just 220,000-230,000 tons.

According to Tarlev, Moldova has to import not less that 30,000 tons of wheat seeds and 300,000 tons of food grain and to take some measures to protect its agricultural producers, since experts estimate their losses at $21.4m. The gross agricultural production reached $118m in current prices in Moldova over the first six months of 2003. It decreased by 6.8 percent compared to the production volume for the corresponding period of 2002.

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