GAIA Investment has launched a new automated cherry sorting and packing line at its regional hub in Bucovăț, Straseni district, Moldova.  

The development marks the first large-scale, modern line in the country, designed to assist Moldovan cherry producers in scaling their operations internationally, according to the Moldova Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry.  

The line, available to more than ten producers, features advanced automation for sorting cherries by size, colour, and calibre while also detecting and eliminating fruit with internal defects. 

The advanced line is complemented by a hydrocooler, which cools the harvested fruit to maintain a higher quality level and thereby extend shelf life.  

GAIA Investment has invested more than $1m in the line, of which $55,000 is from the US Agency for International Development via the Rural Competitiveness and Resilience project.  

Over the past five years, the area of cherry orchards in Moldova has expanded from 3,600 to 4,300 hectares.  

Last year, the country’s producers exported more than 16,000 tons of cherries, valued at over $22m, reaching new EU markets, including Spain, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. 

MOLDPRES quoted Maldova’s Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Vladimir Bolea as saying: “We are already registering successes in diversifying export markets for fruit. It is important to make further progress, but this requires everyone’s involvement and investment. 

“Changes have been included in the new subsidy measures to make the subsidies more attractive and to encourage fruit growers to use high-performance varieties and innovative technologies, to form associations and to adjust production to EU standards.”