Agriculture is one of the most important economic industries in Romania — about 6% of the GDP comes from agricultural activities and close to 35% of the Romanian population is employed in the agriculture sector.
But farmers still face major challenges that make it difficult for them to adopt sustainable farming practices. Soil degradation, lack of access to technology, and the increasing gap between agricultural products and price indexes are all major barriers to sustainable farming.
To help reduce these barriers, a local library in Faraoani collaborated with a retired agricultural engineer and the local government to develop training courses for farmers. A few months ago, librarian Felicitas Farcas applied to Biblionet’s Community Needs Grants Program. With support from the program, Felicitas organized a training for 15 small farmers, where they learned about sustainable and low-cost techniques to grow vegetables.
After the training, participants formed an “agriculture club” at the local library, where they hosted meetings and continued learning about new practices in the field. With a retired agricultural engineer, Felicitas helped develop materials for a comprehensive training for club members. Felicitas also signed an agreement with the Agricultural Chamber of Bacau County for a visit to a research station on vegetable growing science.
The agriculture club has also worked on improving access to national markets as a strategy to increase farmers’ incomes. It has developed a partnership with a local courier service to send vegetables that are sold through vegetable fairs and online platforms such as Facebook.
The Faraoani Library is a beneficiary of IREX’s Biblionet Program. Biblionet is a five-year program that helps Romanian libraries better serve their communities through training and technology.