Moldova's fertile soil supports wheat, corn, barley, vegetables, sugar beets, sunflowers, and tobacco, as well as extensive fruit orchards, vineyards, and walnut groves. Horticulture is important for the production of essences such as rose oil and lavender. Beef and dairy cattle are raised, and there is beekeeping and silkworm breeding. Industries include food processing, winemaking, and the manufacture of agricultural machinery, foundry equipment, major appliances, textiles, and footwear. Remittances from Moldovans working abroad are also important to the economy. After achieving independence, Moldova took steps toward converting to a market economy and launched an ambitious privatization program, but the country remains undeveloped industrially and ranks as one of the poorest nations of Europe. Exports include foodstuffs, textiles, and machinery. Moldova imports all of its oil, coal, and natural gas, as well as machinery, chemicals, and automobiles. The principal trading partners are Russia, Ukraine, and Romania.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.