Animal husbandry and tourism have gained considerable importance for Moldova’s economic development in the recent years, providing opportunities to launch successful local businesses. The involvement of individuals eager to contribute to the country's development, as well as business support from the EU have led to the launch of profitable, high-performing family businesses.
Family business dedicated to traditions and experiential tourism
Casa Bunicului is a farm-based B&B founded in 2018 by Dumitru and Lidia Lazar in Pascani, a village in Cahul. With the grant they received, the Lazar family were able to quickly add all the necessary amenities. A lot of enthusiasm, dedication and hard work turned a cold, abandoned house into a colourful, modern guesthouse that can attract international guests.
Today, Casa Bunicului, meaning Grandfather’s House, is as warm and welcoming as its name and offers amazing travel experiences. What’s more, the Lazar family has been able to set up a sustainable business that can contribute to the development of local agritourism.
„Casa Bunicului is a rustic tourist resort located in an area full of breathtaking natural views,” says Lidia. „Here in Prutul de Jos, there’s a natural lake, Manta, and a number of wineries that attract regular tourists and wine lovers.”
Casa Bunicului guesthouse has a restaurant, gazebos for guests and all the necessary conditions for a lot of activities, such as outdoor relaxation, sports activities (tennis, volleyball), boating, fishing activities, cycling, but also birdwatching, for wildlife enthusiasts.
Due to the high tourism potential of the guesthouse, the Lazar family decided to expand their services and to continue the tradition of producing the „Rara Neagra” local wine, using the recipe of their grandfather, Gheorghe Lazar.
In 2021, the Lazar family received a EUR 4,500 grant as part of the „EU4Moldova: Focal Regions” Programme supported by the EU4Business Initiative and implemented by UNDP and UNICEF. The funds were used to build a rustic wine cellar and a wine tasting area for the „Rara Neagra” wine, and the purchase of outdoor furniture (benches, lanterns). Five other local wine producers were invited to showcase their products.
Shepherding – an old occupation transformed into a successful business
Nicu Tudor is a shepherd from Cahul. After 11 years abroad, back home, he invested the money that he earned to revive sheep farming in Moldova. Today, he is one of the most experienced shepherds in the Bugeac steppe and for more than 26 years shepherding has been his passion.
„I had a special passion for animals, and from here to a love for this activity was just a step. We started everything from scratch, from a piece of land on which there were a few shanties,” says Nicu.
He bought about 70 sheep and set up the sheep farm with his own hands. He was not deterred by difficulties and obstacles and with great courage and ambition he built, one by one, the barn, the warehouses for keeping wool and skins, various outbuildings and a modern slaughterhouse. The business flourishes day by day. Today, he has over 1,000 sheep belonging to the Tsigai and Friesian breeds – the highest milk producing breed of sheep brought from Austria.
„The secret is to do everything from the heart, because if you only aim to fill your pockets, nothing grows and develops,” confesses Nicu.
Nicu produces kavarma and high-quality dairy products: goat milk, urda (a sort of whey cheese made from sheep milk), and so on. The products are 100% organic and have won the hearts of local consumers. Thanks to high demand, his hobby has turned into a business. Thanks to the grant worth EUR 30,000 accessed by the shepherd's son, as well as his own contribution, Nicu invested in modernizing the business, purchasing modern equipment to make natural milk and meat products. Especially kavarma and high-quality cheeses.
„For me it is very important that the people who come to me and buy, are satisfied. Better to lose some money than to sell something of poor quality,” confesses the shepherd.
„Stana Baciului” natural products may be found in the specialized meat and dairy store he opened in Cahul.
More than that, Nicu managed to pass on his love for shepherding to his son, Denis. They work together to turn sheep farming into a profitable business for the family and for the country.
In the future, Nicu plans to expand his business and the growing demand for local products motivates him to keep working hard.
The “EU4Moldova: Focal regions” Programme (2019-2024) supports intelligent, inclusive and sustainable social-economic development in the regions of Cahul and Ungheni to ensure better standards of living to citizens. The total value of the grants it has made is approximately EUR 1.7 million across 75 individual grants in the Cahul and Ungheni regions of Moldova.
The programme has a total budget of €23 million, it is funded by the European Union under its EU4Business Initiative, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).