Farmers in Moldova are feeling the effects of winter even more keenly than usual following the disastrous 2007 drought. People with suffering faces, animals exhausted by hunger, barns blown away by the wind, fields lying fallow due to the lack of money and general despair. Fortunately, vital humanitarian aid has provided at least some hope of overcoming the abject poverty and lightening the burden.
In a deserted field just near Ciadir village, six identical, unfinished houses stand in line. The house owners are young couples who live with their children in a single room. As in many other Moldovan villages, the young have left to work abroad, and those remaining have no money to finish their houses.
The spouses Iuliana and Ion Carabadjac, say that they were tempted to go abroad, but they preferred to keep their family together. Then came the drought and every day became a struggle. Iuliana is a housewife with 3 children. Her husband Ion is a mechanic in the village cooperative and can only get seasonal work. Because of the drought, his earnings during the whole year were hardly enough to buy wood for heating and flour for bread.
The Carabadjac family has only a small plot of 20 acres received as a gift from their parents, far too small to feed a family of 5. "Due to the drought there was no harvest. We collected just a cartful of straw and a few maize cobs, only just enough for one month”, said Iuliana
Unlike the other villagers, the Carabadjac family did not sell their cow, Joiana. ” We had to reduce her daily intake, so the poor thing has turned to skin and bone", Iuliana, tells us. Now health problems and expensive treatments are eroding the few savings the family had. However, they have no lost their humor and the young woman tells us that this winter their cow is considered their “sacred animal”. "If not for the cow, I really don’t know how we would have coped with all this. Sometimes all five of us dance around her to encourage her to give us more milk”, jokes the young woman.
Such a serious drought has not occurred in Moldova since 1946. About 84% of the total surface of republic’s arable land was affected and the cost of production losses accounted for approximately €300 million for cereal crops alone.
At the beginning of this year, 90 villagers from Ciadir with dairy cattle, benefited from fodder funded by the European Commission via its Humanitarian Aid department and several other donors. ”The help came just in time. The fodder will be enough for 80 days, and afterwards it will be possible for the cattle to start grazing in the fields again”, continues Iuliana.
“We wanted to help the most vulnerable farmers keep the cattle that provide their only source of food security. This is an important sign of our continuous commitment to the Moldovan population, targeting the poorest and those who are most in need", said Cesare de Montis, Ambassador, Head of the European Commission Delegation to Moldova.
Communications Officer - UNDP Moldova