Agriculture and industry are the most important trade routes in Moldova. Moldova does not have its own energy sources and has no significant mineral resources. Much of the industry depends on agricultural raw materials.
Although strong industrialization was carried out under the communist regime, agriculture is still a very important trade route. About 75 percent of the acreage is cultivated, and 49 percent of the employment is in agriculture. Agriculture and processing of agricultural products account for about 30 percent of GDP.
In Soviet times, agriculture became collectivized, and it gradually became highly mechanized. Soviet agriculture was based on intensive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, which has created a major pollution problem. The privatization of the land began in 1991, and accelerated from 1995. In the first years production went down, which was also due to major natural disasters (drought, flood).
The main agricultural products are wheat, maize, sugar beets, sunflower, tobacco, vegetables, fruit and wine. The largest grain districts are in the north. The livestock is also considerable (cattle, pigs, sheep). Sheep keeping is especially important in the south. Moldova is especially known as wine country.
The most important industry is the food industry. Other industries of importance are the mechanical, building, textile, metal, shoe factories and electrical household products.
Apart from some bioenergy, Moldova has very modest energy resources in its own territory, and is dependent on imports of coal and natural gas. In 2016, the consumption of primary energy was 159 PJ (petajoule), of which 82 percent was based on imports. The production of electrical energy was 5.8 TWh. The production system is dominated by thermal power plants that use imported energy, primarily from Russia and Ukraine. A hydroelectric power plant on the river Dnestr(Nistru) contributes less than 2 percent of produced power. A lot of imported natural gas is used for heating, besides some wood. In order to reduce import dependence, work is being done on the development of alternative energy sources such as solar energy, wind power and geothermal heat.
According to Countryaah, Moldova’s economy was closely associated with the other Soviet republics during the Soviet era, and the first time after independence the trade pattern was strongly influenced by this. Gradually, a lot has changed. In 1995, 67 percent of Moldova’s imports came from the USSR, while 62 percent of exports went there. In 2002, the figures were 39 percent for imports and 54 percent for exports. Russia was Moldova’s most important trading partner, followed by Ukraine, Romania and Germany. Food, wine and other agricultural products accounted for more than half of the export value. On the import side, coal and petroleum products were the largest.
Transport and Communications
Road transport is greatest in terms of both passengers and goods. Calculated in passenger kilometers, road transport is about twice the size of the railway. However, on long distances and in international traffic, the railroad carries more goods than road traffic. In 1992, there were 1150 km of railroad and 20,800 km of roads, of which 16 100 km of fixed tire. Dnestr (Nistru) is navigable, but is now little used. Chişinău has the country’s busiest airport with several international routes. The airlines are Air Moldova and Moldavian Airlines.