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Biodiversity conservation and community development in Transylvania
Conservarea biodiversităţii şi dezvoltare comunitară în Transilvania

Innovation Norway

Nowegian-funded project to help the small-scale dairy farmers and other producers in the Tarnava Mare area


Milk, and cheese, are the most important source of income for most farmers in Transylvania. But there is a crisis now for small-scale farmers because of the low price for milk, especially cow milk. Farmers face two problems: the stricter rules about milk hygiene that will soon come into force as a result of accession to the European Union, and the fact that it is becoming more difficult for small producers to sell milk. 

These problems are linked. Processors WILL come to villages to collect milk, and WILL offer a better price per litre, if there is enough good quality milk to collect . Most of the hygiene problems that occur  can be simply solved. We believe that a combination of milk hygiene training for farmers, combined with good equipment to store and test the milk, will solve the problem for dairy farmers and will enable them to survive and prosper in the new conditions of the EU.

Innovation Norway project

From June 2009 - April 2011, ADEPT carried out a successful Norway Grants project in cooperation with the Norwegian NGO Norges Vel, whose mission is to develop viable local communities in Norway and other countries, cofunded by Orange Romania.

Through this programme we helped rural communities to bring local benefits from the traditional land management . The project, “Promoting sustainable production for small-scale farming communities in a Natura 2000 landscape in Transylvania“, provided training for farmers of the Tarnava Mare area in milk hygiene, in organic farming, in forming producer groups, and in marketing their products including through farmers markets and through well-equipped milk collection points we will establish in several villages in the area. These are all ways in which farmers can increase their income from agriculture.

Norway GrantsThe Norwegian Cooperation
For a summary report of the
project results click here to download (112k pdf).

Small-scale dairy production is key to the survival of the HNV landscapes of Romania.

 Over 50% of registered producers have fewer than 5 cows. Over 75% of registered producers have under 10 cows. These small-scale farmers, who have created these landscapes, depend mainly on dairy cow or ewe products for their income. Small producers all deliver to one or two milk collection points in villages, from which the processors take delivery. These communal milk collection points have quality problems, since some farmers are less careful than others.

In the Târnava Mare area, as in all of Transylvania, there is a collapse in the market for milk and therefore a collapse in cow numbers. Without a market, agri-environment payments alone are obviously not sufficient to halt this collapse. Surveys show a reduction of cow numbers of 25% in the last year alone, 2008-2009. The cause of the loss of market is that small farmers cannot guarantee the quality and quantity necessary to attract the milk processors. 

Does this spell the end for small-scale milk producers in the High Nature Value areas of Romania?

ADEPT is working with farmers in this area to improve hygiene, and to improve discipline at the communal milk collection points, through hygiene workshops with farmers, discussions with village dairy associations, on-the-spot testing and naming-and-shaming of poor-quality producers (by posting up daily test results), and negotiations with processors.
Impact: within 6 months, two villages have had their milk collection points improved and milk collection reinstated, giving income again to 65 small-scale farmers.

Innovation Norway

About Our partners


Fauna and Flora International

Fundatia Orange


Innovation Norway


Operation Wallacea

Other partners

Helping village economy by saving small-scale dairy farming in Daia

In 2009, ADEPT has completed 2 Milk Collection Points, in the villages of Saschiz and Daia, bringing economic lifeblood back into the village communities.


New Milk Collection Point under construction at the village of Daia

The new milk bulk tank is installed at Daia

Ben Mehedin, one of the ADEPT staff, passes on milk testing and milk hygiene skills he has learned from Norges Vel, our Norvegian partner under the Innovation Norway project. 
Sponsorul Oficial - Fundația Orange România