Migration & Agriculture in Moldova

In the Republic of Moldova, out-migration is consistent across the country, particularly in rural areas. About 20% of the Republic of Moldova’s labor force is involved in migration, with an average migrant age of 35. Most migrants already have families and emigrate due to low average monthly income and limited job opportunities. Since the population of the Republic of Moldova is primarily rural, many migrants come from small villages in rural areas, where most remittances are sent and, in total, account for an estimated 30% or more of Moldova’s GDP. 

Currently, major destinations of Moldovan migrants are EU countriesthe Russian Federation, Romania, Israel, USA and Canada, although migration to the Russian Federation has decreased significantly since the 2014 economic crisis. Most long-term migration is towards the European Union. 

Many migrants from Moldova are also citizens of countries in the European Union or the Commonwealth of Independent States. Holding multiple citizenships encourages mobility as well as ensures migrants have access to social and health systems in host countries.   

Mobility is encouraged by many migrants also possessing citizenship of European Union country or one of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This offers migrants employment as well as access to social and health systems in host countries. Diaspora relations may play a critical role in the development of Moldova, with the country implementing policies to maintain communication with migrants who are developing new skills and networks. In recent years, migration patterns have changed as more young people have sought better educations and jobs in European Union countries.  

Research FocusStudy sitesCovid-19 & Migration

  • Through NIER, creating a methodology for identifying and understanding the two-way interface between migration and agrarian change, while also elaborating policy documents and strategies for dissemination among policymakers. Project experience will be adjusted to local conditions and be disseminated among target stakeholders. 
  • Investigating the impact of macro socio-economic factors, such as education and wealth, on migration flows in Moldova 
  • Investigating the impact of migration and remittances on livelihood strategies and investment decisions of small farmers in Moldova 
  • Investigating the role of current interventions in support of Moldovan migrants and/or returnees 
  • Investigating social impacts of migration flows in rural areas of Moldova, including effects on family structures and gender roles 

Study site: 

Considering the relatively small size of the country and rather homogeneous structure of the population by  social and economic criteria, studies will focus on three villages in the North, Central and South regions of the country. 

The coronavirus pandemic resulted in lockdowns, border closures and canceled flights, with some workers from Moldova restricted from returning to the country. Some migrants who returned home were forced to purchase compulsory medical insurance, resulting in additional financial pressures. However, the government has decided to fully cover the costs of Covid-19 treatment for all hospitalized citizens whether they have health insurance or not. 

Country Team Members

Matteo Vittuari, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna  

Matteo Masotti, Research Fellow, Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna 

Alexandru Stratan, corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, doctor habilitate, professor, National Institute for Economic Research 


Eugenia Lucasenco, scientific researcher, National Institute for Economic Research, Moldova  

Vitalie Stirba, scientific researcherNational Institute for Economic Research, Moldova 



University of Bologna 

The University of Bologna contributes to the AGRUMIG project through the Department of Agricultural and Food Science and Technology (DISTAL)DISTAL research activities are focused on agricultural, food, and rural studies and include a strong commitment to research and knowledge transferDISTAL will carry out the study in partnership with the National Institute for Economic Research, Republic of Moldova. 

Contact details: 

Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna 

Via Fanin 50, 40127, Bologna 

+39 0512096161 

Contact point: 

Matteo Vittuari, Associate Professor, DISTAL   

Matteo Masotti, Research fellow, DISTAL  

National Institute for Economic Research – Moldova 

The National Institute for Economic Research (NIER) is a public institution in the Republic of Moldova, conducting scientific research in economics, finance, statistics, demography, social reforms and the integration of the Republic of Moldova into world economics. NIER has wide expertise in addressing rural development and migration issues. 

Contact details: 

The National Institute for Economic Research 

45, Ion Creanga str., Chisinau, Republic of Moldova 

+373 22 501100 /Fax: +373 22 743794 

Contact point: 

Alexandru Stratan, Director of NIER, scientific consultant in the Agri-food Economics and Rural Development Department, NIER / Project manager for NIER 

Project Outputs



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