The farmland area owned by foreign national in Romania has grown by over 10 per cent this year from 635,000 hectares last year to 709,000 hectares and 10 per cent of it belongs to Arab people, Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara told a press conference yesterday. Italy comes in the first place with 24.29 per cent of the total, followed by Germany with 15.48 per cent and Arab countries with 9.98 per cent. The forth is Spain with a share of 6.22 per cent of the 700,900 hectares of farmland bought by foreign citizens in Romania. Austrian citizens own 6.13 per cent, Hungarians 8.17 per cent and Danes 4.52 per cent. ‘The most active land buyers in Romania come from countries like Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran. if last year one hectare of farmland in good areas was selling for EUR 1,500-2,500, this year the price is up to EUR 4,000 – 5,000,’ Tabara said. However, he believes the land in Romania is still very cheap compared to the EU average price of EUR 10,000 – 15,000/ha. ‘The way the land is sold is quite dangerous, because the whole production might be directed to export,’ the minister added. According to Tabara, last year in Timis County there were 123 farms owned by foreign nationals and now there are 126, in Arad their number has grown from 100 to 107, in Bihor from zero to 25, in Alba from 9 to 14 and in Dolj from 28 to 40. The farming area owned by foreigners in Romania has grown from 37,295 hectares last year to 51,553 hectares this year in North-Eastern Romania, from 26,457 hectares last to 44,021 hectares this year in the South-West and from 149,569 hectares last year to 229,336 hectares this year in Western Romania.
Supporting agriculture, more important than wage, pension rise
Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara also said yesterday agriculture is more important than the increase of pensions and wages because it can influence the population’s purchasing power. ‘Power does not come from the monetary mass in your pocket, it’s not important how many lei you’ve got, but how much you can actually buy with one leu and agriculture can act a lot on people’s purchasing capacity,’ said Tabara. According to him, agriculture will keep growing in the last quarter this year and in the first quarter of next year.
On a distinct note, he also said the Ministry of Agriculture would try to increase per-capita subsidies for animals by 10-12 per cent, from RON 40 to RON 45 for ovine and from RON 410 to RON 469 for bovines. The minister said this year bovine breeders based in economically deprived areas benefit from EUR 6.5 M subsidies for meat and EUR 22 M milk subsidies. Tabara also noted the ministry had taken steps with the European Commission to increase financial resources for the setting up in business of young farmers, who should benefit from EUR 40,000 instead of the current EUR 25,000.