In order to support the development of high-performance agriculture in the Republic of Moldova, an AgTech laboratory with drones and mechatronics will be created at two specialized universities in the country. In this regard, within the Tekwill project, the State Agrarian University (UASM), the Technical University of Moldova (UTM) and the National Association of ICT Companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The laboratory will be a source of ongoing training for staff in agricultural companies, and future professionals will also benefit from mentoring and assistance in the use of modern technologies and drones in agriculture. The project will be implemented over the next three years, with the support of external development partners USAID and Sweden.
Ana Chirita, Strategic Project Director, ATIC:
“By establishing partnerships with universities in the country, we aim to create that synergy in all related fields, which will contribute to the development of the country’s economy, including agriculture. And for tomorrow’s specialists to have the skills according to market demand, it is necessary to invest in education through infrastructure, access to research laboratories, experience and expertise. The AgTech laboratory will become a viable tool, thanks to which future specialists will test their knowledge, be encouraged to think innovatively, implement information technologies and prepare for a profession in the field.”
The possibilities of the AgTech laboratory
The AgTech laboratory will consist of two subsidiaries: Agrodrone – within UASM and Mechatronics – within UTM. In the laboratory, students, masters and doctoral students will have the opportunity to participate in training and research programs, through which to develop their skills and put into practice their abilities, through equipment and tools.
Ilie Cercel, Vice-Rector for Scientific Activity, UASM:
“Globally, agriculture is in transition to a new green revolution supported by the massive implementation of digital technologies. We are confident that this initiative will boost cross-sectoral and inter-university collaboration at the local level, but we will also prepare future specialists who will easily integrate into the global flow of modern agricultural development.”
Vladislav Resitca, Vice-Rector for Studies, Ph.D. in Technical Sciences, Associate Professor, UTM:
“We train specialists to adapt to the current requirements of the market, and the role of technology in student education is indispensable. Such a laboratory is an innovation for academia, through which future professionals will benefit from an enabling environment in which to improve their skills and lead to the development of the industry.”
Benjamin Toric, Director of the Performance Agriculture in Moldova project, funded by USAID:
“At USAID APM, we recognize the importance of AgTech in increasing productivity while optimizing resource use and minimizing the negative impact on the environment. As such, we have worked closely with Tekwill and other Moldovan partners to launch a number of AgTech initiatives, including the AgTech Academy and BeeProtect. USAID / HVAA also supports the latest AgTech initiative, which is facilitated by Tekwill, and which aims to set up an AgTech drone and mechatronics lab at UASM and UTM. HVAA has helped to create an innovative partnership between universities and the private sector in Moldova and abroad, to catalyze interdisciplinary research, exchange of experience and the development of innovative solutions to address the problems and challenges that the agricultural producers face. Agricultural drones, for example, can help to improve a variety of agricultural practices, including crop health assessment, irrigation, soil and soil analysis. The global agricultural drone market is expected to exceed $ 15 billion by 2027, transforming the agricultural sector, helping to overcome the challenges of climate change. The AgTech laboratory will help Moldova keep up with international development trends.“
The initiative aims to connect educational institutions to increase the entrepreneurial and educational capacity, as well as the research and development potential of companies in the agricultural industry. All in order to support the transformation of agriculture, through the use of technological innovations, which contribute to increasing productivity, reducing the costs involved in current agricultural production practices.
According to statistics, more than 850,000 Moldovans work in agriculture and generate about 13% of the country’s GDP annually, and by 2027, only the use of drones in global agriculture will reach a service share of 15.2 billion US dollars. Although the digitalisation of the agricultural sector brings many benefits and a number of actions and tools are already in place, there are still many barriers to realizing its full potential. Support for information technology agriculture is one of the 5 business verticals that Tekwill supports in its programs to encourage sectoral collaboration between traditional and IT industry representatives.
TEKWILL Project – The Revolution Begins!
The TEKWILL project is being implemented by the National Association of ICT Companies, with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sweden. “Tekwill” was created in 2017 as the Center of Excellence of the ICT sector in Moldova, with the main purpose of aligning the field with current market requirements. In order to continue to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the IT industry and other strategic sectors of the economy, the center has expanded its fields of activity, becoming in 2019 a complex project at national level, with the slogan “The revolution begins!”. The main objective of the TEKWILL Project, over the last few years, with the help of Tekwill, several solutions have been developed in the field of agriculture and food industry, such as: the training academy for future specialists in the field (AgTech Academy); the digital platform for preventing bee poisoning and facilitating communication between the actors involved (BeeProtect); the solution for the consolidated promotion of the offers of the local fruit producers on the foreign markets and the online trade of the agricultural products; the integrated solution for marketing the products and services of farmers and local companies in the wine industry, etc. its quality as a platform dedicated to the progress of the IT sector, is to ensure a major impact on the economic development of the country, by improving the entrepreneurial and educational capacities of society, but also by increasing the research and development potential of educational institutions, in line with the demand on the IT market.