The project aims to shorten supply and value chains and boost productivity and income of small orchard holders though-out South-East of Moldova, providing a buffer cushion for seasonal demand and mirroring supply fluctuations, further supporting sustainable landscape management and biodiversity conservation: protecting the traditional orchard and the associated ecosystem services throughout the Lower Dniester of Moldova.

The project provides the rural communities of South East Moldova with a mobile cold fresh juice pressing line, the very first of a kind in the country, allowing the small orchard holders of Causeni and Stefan Voda to process excessive crops and turn them into cold pressed juice of apples, pears, stones fruits and berries. The pressing line is operated by the local NGO – Purcari Communities, and renders services directly at the client’s farm, at the minimal maintenance fee, on a non-profit basis. The initiative was financed under two synergized projects by: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within the scope of Polish Development Assistance Programme: Polish Development Aid 2021-2022 and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, under Rahvusvahelise Arengukoostöö Keskus/Estonian Development Assistance (Estdev). The project is delivered jointly by Gmina Tarczyn, Municipality of Causeni, Peipsi CTC and Development Policy Foundation.

During particularly yieldful years, the small orchards holders are left with fruits they are unable to sell due to oversupply (extremely low prices) and unable to store and extend the lifetime of, due to lack of proper storing infrastructure in place. As such, tonnes of perfectly good agricultural produce go to waste every year. 

The mobile juice pressing line responds to the needs of the local community, with a particular focus on fragmented small orchard holders : the backbone of Causeni & Stevan Voda farming. Notably, significant challenges arose for the food market in Moldova due to the war in Ukraine – a logistical crisis created numerous supply bottlenecks in the region. Introduction of the mobile juice press directly tackles those challenges, by allowing significant shortening of fresh fruit supply chains. It allows the local farmers to process excessive, unsold crops and turn profit, which is especially crucial in the current times of unstable food market prices and significantly reduces food waste. This innovative solution introduces an incentive to manage and protect local high-rise orchards, crucial to maintaining ecological corridors in the Stefan Voda region, by ensuring their cost-effectiveness.  

As for the technicalities, the destoner-equipped juice press is installed on a mobile trailer, allowing delivery of the juice pressing services directly on-farm. It also features packing technology, allowing bag-in-box technology packing for juices as well as bottling of the product. The mobile juice press will be operated by a local NGO, promoting local incentive and ownership. All interested will have the possibility to use the line for a small fee – use of the press is estimated to be profitable starting from processing 200 kg of fruit. The juice pressing line can process most kinds of fruit – including the most popular crops in the region, such as apricots, cherries, or quince. It also allows the users to add herbs for enhanced flavor of the final product.

The line was delivered under two fully synergized projects co-funded in equal parts by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within the scope of Polish Development Assistance Programme: Polish Development Aid 2021 as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, within the framework of Rahvusvahelise Arengukoostöö Keskus (Estdev). The project was conducted based on the cooperation between Gmina Tarczyn and Causeni, and carried out with the assistance of Peipsi CTC. Development Policy Foundation acted as a chief topical know-how provider during the course of project implementation and co-developed the project idea.