Romania is located at the crossroads of central and southeastern Europe. With a population of over 21.5 million people, it has the 7th largest population and is the 9th largest country in the European Union. Romania formed when the territories of Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united at the end of World War I. With partial occupation by the Soviet Union, the country became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. Since then, Romania has become a stable democracy, marked by its induction into NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007.
According to the National Institute of Statistics, 50% of Romanians live in rural areas and almost 10 percent of the population lived in absolute poverty. Most rural residents practice subsistence agriculture but it provides only 7% of the GDP, pushing the economy to an unbalanced situation. The challenge of getting produce to markets has created a negative trend in livestock and farms while the demand for agricultural products is on the rise. Heifer’s work in Romania focuses primarily on advocating for small farmers and linking them to markets in need of their products.
Heifer's Work in Romania
Heifer in Romania was established in 1991 and approved the first project, Angora Goat Production on Family Farms in Romania, in 1992. In 1997, the Heifer Romania office opened. Since then, Heifer International has operated an authorized office in Romania and has spread its activity all over Romania and the neighboring countries of Moldova (since 2002) and Bulgaria (since 2007). The Heifer Romania country program operates through the legally registered Romanian foundation Fundatia Heifer Project pentru Romania. Presently Heifer Romania has 40 historical and 20 active projects.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
sustainable agricultural production: Improving the environment and promoting organic agriculture; building durable connections between groups formed by different cultural, ethnic and religious groups; products management and processing
Market development: Value chain projects: addressing the whole chain from production to marketing; microenterprise, micro-credit projects
Technology: Artificial insemination projects; milking hygiene, milk quality standards
Nutrition: Orphans, youth at risk (Farmers Feed the Children, Milk for Orphans projects); poor farmer families targeted for improving their nutrition
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
The second Irish airlift committed for Heifer Romania’s Milk for Orphans Project landed successfully at the Timisoara airport on January 17th.
Salajan Maria Marius, 75, tends to Mendruta, a Romanian Spotted Cow her son, Salajan Marius, received through Heifer, on their family farm in the village of Giurtelecul Simleului, Romania.
Of the 66 Irish heifers that landed one month ago in Romania, 45 were distributed yesterday, March 8th, for International women’s Day as Heifer gifts to 45 women from Rasca, Cluj County.
Students from Purdue University and Banat Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine University (Romania) 2010
Dr. Mark Russell, along with other faculty from Purdue’s Agronomy Department, co-led a class called “Exploring International Animal Industries” on a visit to Romania.