Cristina Capmaru—the farmer who adapts not only to the times but also to the weather

September 18, 2023

Located just under two hours away from the capital, in the village of Tomai in the Leova district, producer Cristina Capmaru tends her lands without using any ploughs or other agricultural machinery. With financial support from Sweden and UNDP as part of “Sustainable and resilient communities through women empowerment” project, Cristina has modernized her business and firmly believes that, in the coming years, climate change will compel agricultural producers to incorporate new technologies into their daily work.

Cristina cultivates cereals on an area spanning over 150 hectares. She is among the few entrepreneurs in the Republic of Moldova who practice conservation agriculture, meaning that she uses sensibly the natural resources of the land. 

Following the drought in 2020, the entrepreneur decided to implement the mini-till technology which, apart from its economic benefits, contributes to soil regeneration and moisture retention. Thanks to a grant provided by Sweden as part of UNDP’s “Sustainable and resilient communities through women empowerment” project, Cristina acquired a mini-till seeder to implement the minimal soil cultivation system.

"I believe my passion for agriculture stems from my childhood. Agriculture was the main occupation of my parents. Being involved in fieldwork frequently, I decided to start up my own business in agriculture,” notes Cristina.

The entrepreneur is aware that agriculture is directly affected by climate change: “We depend on the climate and precipitation. Hence, when we decided to implement the mini-till technology, we realized it would have been impossible without acquiring a specialized seeder. The grant means a lot to us. The 2020 drought left us with huge debts and morale at rock bottom. However, thanks to the financial support received from Sweden and UNDP, we were able to continue our work in the field we chose. It was practically a lifesaver for our business. The results we achieved in 2022 delighted us, and we will continue with conservation agriculture.” 

Besides using the land resources sustainably, Cristina is developing an environmentally friendly and climate-resilient business. This is possible because the mini-till technology allows her to plant cereals and distribute fertilizers directly into the soil without tilling the land. The seeder ensures optimal seed incorporation depth and uniform seeding, with a positive impact on restoring microorganism communities and conserving soil water resources. Thanks to business mentoring and training in sustainable use of resources, offered by the project, Cristina states that she has achieved greater productivity without harming the soil. This, in turn, inspires farmers in the region to follow her lead.

"The mini-till technology has the advantage of improving the soil structure in the long run. Over time, a mulch layer is formed on the surface of the soil, enriching it with mineral and organic substances. Wind and water erosion occurs to a lesser extent. Another advantage is time and cost savings, as fewer tasks are required. Moreover, it reduces air pollution as less fuel is consumed," proudly explains the farmer from Tomai.

Developing environmentally friendly agriculture, requires a change in mindset, alongside investments. "It is necessary for more agricultural producers to be open to innovation and eager to contribute to a cleaner environment and protected soil while adapting to climate changes—one of the biggest threats to the environment, and to our social and economic framework. The Project provides support in this regard," says Victoria Ivancioglo, manager of “Sustainable and resilient communities through women empowerment” project. The project aims to enhance women's access to alternative income-generating activities, as well as to knowledge and information on resilient management of natural and agricultural resources.

"It is important to support as many women as possible who engage in economic activities to fully realize their potential. We are currently witnessing an expanding presence of women entrepreneurs, and we are pleased to see women leading inclusive agricultural businesses. Approximately 33.9% of enterprises are owned or managed by women, an increase by 6.4 percentage points compared to 2009," explains Victoria Ivancioglo. 

Cristina Capmaru is one of the 11 entrepreneurs from the Nisporeni, Călărași, Leova, Dubăsari, Găgăuzia region, security zone, and Transnistrian region who received grants of up to US$18,000 as part of the project for the establishment or development of environmentally-friendly and climate-resilient businesses.