Moldovan farmer Nicolae Micu from the village of Oliscani, Soldanesti has been involved for several years in growing organic walnuts. They are environmentally friendly, are grown without any chemicals and fertilizers and are in great demand on local and international markets.
Together with his son Alexei, Nicolae Micu runs the company Micu & CO SRL (ebio.md), which grows various crops on an area of 280 hectares. On their lands we can find cereals, fruit trees, but Nicolae Micu remains passionate about walnuts.
An eco-friendly product, like our ancestors used to grow
The walnut orchard was planted in 2002 and covers an area of 26 hectares. Nicolae Micu, a farmer with great deal of experience, always wanted to grow walnuts, the ways his parents and grandparents did, the way our ancestors used to do when there were no fertilizers or chemicals. Event if the walnuts are of hybrid variety, Nicolae Micu told us that during all this years , the orchard has not been affected by any disease.
According to farmer, often walnuts from spontaneous flora are more resistant to natural disasters and pests and are more fertile than officially approved varieties that are grown by most of the country's farmers.
Harvesting and processing
One of the advantages of walnuts culture is the fact that it does not require a large number of workers, both during growing and harvesting. Nevertheless, several employees are involved in the process of cleaning and sorting the kernel of the nut on specially equipped lines of the enterprise. Here, also takes place, the packing of nuts into bags.
For harvesting, there was purchased a mounted vibrator for trees, which made the process faster and more efficient.
The nutshell is used for heating purposes, while other residues are suitable as animal feed.
Moldovan walnuts are in high demand on international market
According to statistical data, the Republic of Moldova currently is ranked 9th in the world in terms of walnuts production and export. This is a product especially valued in the European space.
The Oliscani walnuts, with the help of local distributors, are also exported. In Europe they buy kernels, as well as whole walnuts. Organic products have a great demand and a higher price. The price for them is attractive and stimulates farmers, but the requirements for their cultivation are very strict.
Organic farming is a step to the future for Moldova
On 280 hectares, farmers grow numerous crops such as oats, wheat, sunflower, buckwheat, there are several fruit groves (plums, pears, quinces), as well as mustard, peas and rapeseed plantations.
Since 2014, the company no longer uses herbicides and chemical fertilizers and in 2015, began certification of fields for organic farming. Currently, several products have the ECO certificate.
Nicolae Micu would like all his products to be organic. "As the walnut grew 200 years ago without any chemicals and fertilizers, the same way we want to grow it today. And not only the walnuts, but all other products as well. Maybe sometimes we lose a part of the crop, as plants suffer from diseases and pests, but we certainly win by quality and price".