Romania could reach the first positions in the European Union as regards the ecologically certified agricultural areas, given that the new National Programme for Rural Development (PNDR) took into consideration the introduction of an additional financial package for ecologically certified pastures and hayfields, told Agerpres the chairman of the Bio Romania Association, Marian Cioceanu.
‘For the first time, Romania’s Government, the Agriculture Ministry, respectively answered the bids made by the bio sector’s associations and considered for the current PNDR 2014-2020 the introduction of an additional package for the financial support given to the pastures which are certified ecologically (pastures and hayfields). By introducing this new package ‘Support for ecologically certified pastures’ – package 6, we hope that in less than two years the number of the farmers will increase exponentially. Should the financial support covers the certification costs and the costs with the inputs ecologically certified necessary to the pastures, then the farmers, dairy cattle breeders will massively embrace the ecological system because currently the bio milk is increasingly requested and purchased with a price of up to 50 pct bigger than the conventional milk’s price,’ the Bio Romania chief said.
According to estimates by Bio Romania Association, this measure will bring about a massive migration of the small farmers with cattle, sheep and/or goats to the certification of their pastures in the ecological agriculture system. Currently, out of approximately 17,000 ecological agriculture operators, over 95 pct are breeders and over 90 pct are exploiting 2-5 dairy cows and have in their property an average of rd 5 hectares of pastures, hayfields or pastures, respectively.
The association’s chairman deems that Romania could reach the top of the EU countries by certified agricultural area, if only 1/5 of the Romania’s pastures’ area will be ecologically certified.
‘Currently, Spain ranks first in the EU with 1.8 million hectares, followed by Italy with 1.4 million hectares. If we’d add, to the present ecologically certified area only one million hectares of pastures out of the 5 million hectares Romania has in total, we would rank 3rd in the EU,’ said Marian Cioceanu.
The ecological agriculture of Romania has recorded in the past years a 23 pct annual growth rhythm. If in 2010 there were 3,155 operators in the ecological agriculture, in 2011 their number grew three times, and in 2012 it increased 11.8 times, as they were already recorded 26,736 operators involved in the production, processing and trading of the ecological products.