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October 23, 2020

Non-bank investors to finance agriculture

State unable to stop food price hikes, Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara claims.

Adrian Radulescu, Secretary of State within the Agriculture Ministry, stated yesterday during a seminar on crediting in the agriculture sector that he is completely dissatisfied with the fact that the banks have ignored the agriculture sector, Mediafax informs.

He stated that the banks’ demand for a farmer to come up with an advance payment amounting to 20 per cent of the credit he requested was “a disaster that killed” farmers.

The Secretary of State also underlined that non-bank investors willing to finance the agriculture sector come up to the Ministry almost on a daily basis. “The banks will have competition in this domain,” Radulescu said. He added that investors have understood that agriculture is a business against the backdrop in which forecasts point to a more difficult situation in the agricultural sector, one that will lead to high prices and implicitly to large profits.

Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara stated during the same seminar that Romania is going through a purchasing power crisis, not a food crisis, because food products are not absent from the market like they were before 1989. He said the state cannot stop food price hikes. “I have to help farms produce, not to hit them over the head and tell them how to sell. The growth of the purchasing power cannot be done by hitting the Romanian farmer,” the Minister stated.

Secretary of State Adrian Radulescu also stated that no decision was taken on taxing the owners of fallow land, however unofficially it was decided that “we have enough taxes.” According to him, the law on taxing the owners of fallow land is “on the drawing board” and officially no decision has been taken. “Unofficially, the political decision was: “We have enough taxes!”,” Radulescu said.

Potato prices won’t drop by much

The surface of potato crops is reaching its upper limit this year so there will be a good offer on the market, however the prices will not drop by much, the Agriculture Minister explained. He stated that the potato price hikes were an occurrence at European level, not just in Romania. “The first early potatoes to come up now will be ten times more expensive, because that’s normal. They were planted in March, they were protected, the farmers took care of them each morning,” the Minister stated. Potato prices grew by more than 30 per cent in the first four months of this year. Last year they grew by 45 per cent.

Poor weather affects 39,000 hectares

According to Agriculture Ministry statistics, so far this year low temperatures have damaged 39,000 hectares of crops in Romania, ‘Romania Libera’ informs. Calarasi County is the worst affected, 24,878 hectares of crops being damaged there. Dambovita is second with 8,406 hectares, followed by Mures (2,107) and Satu Mare (1,600).

Rape crops suffered the worst (24,538 hectares), most of them in Calarasi County. Fruit trees (13,122 hectares) and strawberries (1,102 hectares) were also affected. Specialists argue that in several regions certain crops were damaged by the significant variations between daytime and nighttime temperatures.

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