President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday said Romania has a huge agricultural potential, warning that Romania is importing a considerable amount of agricultural produce and food.
He underscored that agriculture is Romania’s area where it can gain in the long term if properly capitalised on. “We have a huge agricultural potential, but we import a considerable amount of agricultural produce and food,” Iohannis told the opening of the Indagra agricultural trade fair in Bucharest.
In his opinion, the Romanian agriculture is facing some paradoxes.
“We have the best apples in the world, but more than 80 percent of the ones we eat are imported. A quarter of the economically active population in Romania works in agriculture, but only 4.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is contributed by agriculture. We have hardworking people with many initiatives but we lack infrastructure; and now and then we blame it on the weather or, on the contrary, we laud the weather for a good farm year. I want the Romanian agriculture to no longer be an area of paradoxes, but an area of achievements,” said Iohannis.
He added that the time has come for the stage of paradoxes to be overcome and the Romanian agriculture to be turned into a highly competitive one that “does not depend on weather or other circumstances,’ and where investment goes.
“When I say investment, I do no mean funds only, but also constant and consistent care translated into smart and stimulating policies. Romania has to encourage free initiatives in agriculture and capitalise on structural funds to the maximum,” he said.
Iohannis mentioned that the first steps were taken in the rehabilitation of Romania’s irrigation system, for which more than one billion euros will be earmarked in the years to come. He added that the project will have to be consistently followed by any future government.
“Besides the steps taken or the programmes conducted, we can build a clear and efficient long-term strategy for the development of agriculture that will engage intellectual resources, specialists, authorities, people with hands-on experience and successful stories, some of whom are here [at the fair],” said Iohannis.
He pointed out that agriculture is standing great chances of becoming a source of prosperity and economic growth in Romania, but for that to happen, new technology, upgraded rural, production, transport and delivery infrastructures are needed, as well as getting farmers connected with the market in all associative and competition forms.
“When agricultural holdings cease to be just a means of subsistence, we will be able to talk about real progress in the countryside,” said Iohannis, according to Agerpres.
He added that related industries should also be developed, including the food and textiles industries, saying that Romania could be ranked among Europe’s main suppliers of organic produce on a market that is increasingly expanding.
Iohannis mentioned that a strategy for the completion of the land cadastre is also needed for the development of agriculture.
“In a market economy, private ownership is guaranteed. Romania has a duty to solve the problem of land ownership once and for all, or else investment projects will be postponed and opportunities will be kept away,” Iohannis concluded.
After the opening of the 20th edition of Indagra, Iohannis visited some stands and tasted traditional produce.
Also attending the opening of the trade fair were Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin, Chairman of the Romanian Chamber of Commerce Mihai Daraban, as well as presidential advisers Cosmin Marinescu and Andrei Muraru.