President Basescu proposes rainwater collection policy as irrigation solution


Aside from finalizing work on the Siret-Baragan and Bucharest-Oltenita channels aimed at solving irrigation in addition to transport problems, it should come as no surprise that designing a rainwater collection system could provide a further solution in this respect. “If we introduced a collection policy of water harvested from rain and tornados, we could very easily irrigate farmlands using gravity,” the President of Romania, Traian Basescu, stated Thursday at the National Farmers Conference ‘Romanian Agriculture between Survival and Performance.
Basescu added that posted on the website of the Presidency is a national strategic framework for the sustainable development of the agri-food sector and the countryside in 2014-2020, and much of what is being suggested there is funded by European funds. He argued the document should be distributed to Parliament and farmers because it includes a projection of objectives set for Romania’s agriculture. ‘There is such a strategy that casts light on how agriculture should be developed and what the priorities should be to 2020,’ said Basescu, adding that the document aims at two pillars – vertical development and horizontal consolidation – whereby land should be sold in a certain logic and in the interest of the country, because ‘land is an asset not to be treated lightly.’
He also said it is extremely important for Romanians to understand the importance of land consolidation, because there are already 1 million farmers operating subsistence farms that make up 51 percent of the country’s farm area and 0.3 percent of farms making up 49 percent of the farm area. ‘When we consider the efficiency and efficacy of Romania’s agriculture we cannot but notice that we cannot compete when half of the agricultural area is held by subsistence farms. That is why I believe a policy of land consolidation should be started, but everything will be a fairy-tale before the land registry and land books are out,’ said Basescu.
Romanian president told that after a farmland owner emerged in his family two things are important to him in a lifetime, children and land. He added that after ending his term in office he might become a member of the League of Association of Romania’s Agricultural Producers (LAPAR) to qualify for farm aids. On the other hand, LAPAR demanded the authorities to initiate a set of normative acts to stop the sale of farmland to foreigners since over one million ha have already been sold to foreigners, and other two million ha are leased out to the same category.
Capitalizing on grain production
In the same public appearance, President Traian Basescu also commented on the price of wheat. In his opinion, last year’s wheat prices were “a mockery” and the lack of companies able to identify appropriate markets for selling crops at advantageous prices is to be deplored. “(…) It is inadmissible that a country ranked among the first four or five European countries by agricultural potential should not have Romanian companies which can identify alternative markets and ensure the sale of crops at favorable prices,” Basescu stressed, going on to say, “Therefore, we must diversify our end clients. In this respect, Romania has the necessary staff qualified to study the markets and offer market expansion solutions, because it is unacceptable that we should depend on people completely uninterested in helping the Romanian agriculture.” The President suggested farmers to found two or three such companies under their sole ownership. In turn, Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin, who also attended the event, said that Romania is beginning to regain its status as an important player on the agricultural market following last year’s positive rankings as the largest sunflower producer in Europe, the second largest corn producer, and sixth largest wheat producer. “Romania’s balance of trade in 2013 was similarly positive as exports exceeded imports for the first time in 20 years. This trend continued in the first two months of 2014, when we exported EUR 200 million more than in the similar period of 2013,” Constantin pointed out.
In another context, President Traian Basescu on Wednesday stated that he noticed in the Official Gazette an Ordinance allowing oil companies to get urbanism authorizations and also approvals to build on such plots of land that are not registered in the Land Register and that in his opinion such a normative act was risky.

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