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January 21, 2021
BUSINESS

No… significant price rises expected for food, agriculture minister says

Romania should become net exporter of agri-food products, declared Valeriu Tabara.

There are no reasons of concern about a steep rise in food prices this year, Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara told a press conference.
‘I believe prices will stay unchanged, including for wheat, meat and fruit & vegetables, because producers’ prices are good,’ said the minister, adding that by ‘good’ he understood production cost coverage and profit margin.

As far as retail prices are concerned, Tabara noted they would still depend on organisation shortcomings: ‘There are major reserves to cut retail prices, especially if we get to develop irrigation systems in agriculture.’ The minister further said that, in the case of fowl meat and eggs, many producers sell at prices under production costs.

On the GMOs subject, the agriculture minister stressed out that Romania loses almost EUR 1M every year by not cultivating genetically-modified soybeans, with the national production potential being of around two million tons. The official also noted that Romania was ‘the only country in Europe able to grow the plant at industrial levels.’

Tabara also said products developed through bio-technologies are 40-60 per cent cheaper than the other ones.

‘Romania imports almost 500,000 tons of soybeans from Brazil, the US and other countries, which is produced exclusively through bio-technology. It is inadmissible to be allowed to consume <poison> but not to be allowed to produce it,’ said the agriculture official. The minister also pointed out that Romanians eat a natural genetically-modified product on a daily basis – the wheat from which bread is made.
The even more interesting fact is that, apart from soy, Romania could also successfully grow genetically-modified corn. ‘I prefer more resistant corn to one that is sprayed with pesticides. There is a big chance to grow GMOs in Romania in the next years, because I usually strive to carry out all my endeavours,’ the minister also said.

Under the EU relevant legislation, the growing of genetically-modified plants and GMOs imports from third countries are authorised at the EU level and all 27 member states participate in the voting process.

Wheat production may go up 7 pc this year

Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara also said, at the same press conference, yesterday, that wheat production might grow by 7 per cent this year from 5.6 M tons to over 6 M tons, even if the total area cultivated with wheat is smaller than last year. ‘The way things look right now, unless natural hazards intervene, we will have a good year’, said the minister.

And, since there are signs suggesting that Romanian agriculture is making a recovery – as the minister pointed out – it is about time we stopped producing just enough to consume: ‘Romania should become a net exporter of agri-food goods.’ On the other hand, the official added that one of the objectives this year was to develop a national network of grain warehouses. ‘We will continue to support the animal breeding sector and it is also important to re-launch the milk sector, as well. Unfortunately, in the last two years we have come to import dairy goods,’ Tabara said.

In the end, the Minister of Agriculture said the ministry’s budget was already set until 2013, noting it was the first time that a Romanian minister knows what he has to do over a period longer than a year.

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