Romania, major agricultural potential over Western Europe


According to Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, the European market is completely open to local products because there are no tariff barriers.

The agricultural output per hectare in Romania and Eastern European countries represents one third of that in Western European countries. The production potential can be put to good use through the Common Agricultural Policy.
“I hope there will be the wisdom and intelligence to use this productivity potential, not just through the export of raw materials but also through their processing here and the use of export opportunities both on the European market but especially on the international one. In the future conditions will be favorable on the international market for those that will be able to have a competitive agriculture price-wise, quality-wise and from the point of view of the use of natural resources,” European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Ciolos stated yesterday at the ‘Agriculture and environmental protection in Eastern and Central Europe – Their contribution to economic growth and the development of the labour market’ forum organized by the European League for Economic Cooperation with the support of the National Bank of Romania (BNR).
He pointed out that the European market is completely open to products from Romania because there are no tariff barriers, the same norms and standards being applied in the food sector in Romania as well as the one in Germany.
“Indeed, the question of competitiveness is raised, but it is an economic problem that can be solved with European funds too. I want to draw attention to the fact that in the future the growth in the consumption of foodstuffs will not be that high in the EU as it will be in the emerging countries with which the EU is now negotiating trade agreements. I believe there would be over there a growth potential for the export of high quality and competitive products from the Romanian agro-food sector. Romania can use all facilities negotiated with the EU in these free trade agreements and can put to good use its competitiveness potential,” Dacian Ciolos added. The growth of collection and storage infrastructure could lead to a better exploitation of production, according to the European commissioner.
Economic growth and more jobs
Attending the event, First BNR Vice-Governor Florin Georgescu said that Romania’s 2013 economic growth would have been only half the reported figures had it not been for the contributions of agriculture, which shows the importance of the sector. He argued that there is a series of opportunities in terms of boosting efficiency in agriculture if complex reforms are carried out in the field and that Romania’s agriculture is a very important topic, especially when the dynamic of farm exports is taken into account.
“Romania’s agricultural achievements are based on a series of factors, a better absorption of European funds, and also a significant effort on the part of the Government,” said Georgescu.
He also mentioned that Romania is facing issues that are similar to those in other European and international markets, such as a negative impact of global warming on agriculture and a rising food demand in the next 30 years.
In his turn, Deputy Prime Mister Daniel Constantin, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that in the past two years agriculture has generated economic growth and jobs with special emphasis in 2013 and contributed 5.6 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP). “Romanian agriculture can be an engine of economic growth, at least at this time, and it can consolidate in the time to come. Leaving aside these figures, I think it is more important for us to reveal Romania’s potential in the field of agriculture. Of course it has started being turned to account, but we cannot speak of a maximum turning to account of this potential,” said Constantin.
In this context the minister mentioned the fact that Romania in 2013 was one of the top countries in certain categories of products, namely first in sunflower, second in maize and sixth in wheat and rapeseed.
Concerning the agricultural productivity that Commissioner Ciolos previously talked about, Daniel Constantin emphasized the fact that Romania has an agricultural output that is smaller than that of many EU countries because it uses fewer fertilizers per hectare, which represents a higher care shown to the environment. “We can remain first in sunflower and second in maize if we manage to remove the ban on certain substances that use neonicotinoids. They are absolutely necessary in treating seeds. The fact that they were banned in 2013 is significantly detrimental for Romanian production, unless we will obtain that 120-day waiver period, as we and the private sector have tried to persuade the European Commission,” the minister pointed out. He stated that without such treatments the agricultural production of Eastern European countries will be affected. Daniel Constantin added that the level of subsidies in Romania is smaller than in other member states because at the time when the negotiations for subsidies took place, in 2002-2003, the average agricultural output in Romania was 2.6 tons per hectare, while in other countries it stood at 4-5 tons per hectare in the case of certain crops.

Leave a Reply