Tatiana Capatina took a risk when she left her 20-year career in health care and began a farming business with her husband in 2005.
The Moldovan woman owns more than 66 acres of farmland, on which she grows six apple varieties for export to Russia and Belarus. She initially left her career as a nurse to create a better life for her children, and she now has 20 to 30 seasonal staff working for her.
Capatina is expanding her business by making further investments with a loan funded through the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s five-year, $262 million compact with Moldova.
Agriculture is a major contributor to Moldova’s economy—the sector accounts for about one-third of Moldova’s gross domestic product and 65 percent of all exports. Moldova has ideal climactic and geographical conditions for growing a wide range of grains, fruits and vegetables. However, Moldova’s agricultural sector has performed poorly and has seen a decline in production and exports since independence in 1991.
In recent years, farmers and private companies have increased agricultural investment, and the sector is showing signs of improvement. MCC is helping to boost further growth in the agriculture sector through the compact’s $101.7 million Transition to High Value Agriculture Project.
The project seeks to increase the earning potential of rural Moldovan entrepreneurs like Capatina by investing in irrigation infrastructure, policy reforms and financing options that allow rural farmers to invest in crops that sell at a higher price.
The project’s Access to Agricultural Finance Activity is working to empower Moldovans to expand their business opportunities by taking out loans to invest in agriculture infrastructure. Moldovan financial institutions largely lack the ability to lend for investments in the high-value agriculture supply chain for periods of more than three years.
MCC and Millennium Challenge Account-Moldova, the organization implementing the compact, are addressing that challenge by providing long-term financing to farmers. This financing allows Moldovan farmers to improve their agricultural supply chain—from how produce is sorted and packed to the length of their production and marketing season. This will increase their competitiveness in domestic and international markets.
Capatina took out a loan through the credit facility and built a cold-storage facility with a capacity of 400 metric tons, which allows her to store apples at the ideal temperature, sell beyond the harvest seasons and earn more money.
”We will have income from agriculture if we sell products of good quality, sorted and stored under appropriate conditions,” she said. “The MCA-Moldova loan helped me create the appropriate conditions for storage of apples and gave me hope to increase my income.”
Capatina is also planning on purchasing a sorting line and tractors for various works in her orchard, which will help create more jobs and increase the trees’ production potential.
Twenty-one loans totaling $4.3 million have been provided through the Access to Agricultural Finance Activity since it began distributing loans in 2011. By the compact’s end in 2015, approximately $12 million in loans are expected to be disbursed.
“The loan not only helped provide a strong boost for my business,” Capatina said, “it also gives me the chance to show a model of profitable agriculture to my children and other women like me who didn’t have the courage to take the risk of starting a business.”