Having hanged on the edge of the precipice for many years, scientific research in Romania’s agricultural sector urgently needs financial support or orders from public authorities. Reputable institutes for horticulture, viticulture, cultivation of cereal grains, are desperate that their genetic and logistical bases have been forsaken by the governments of recent decades.
In this context, we find the proposal made by Agriculture Minister Achim Irimescu, who wants to revolutionise agricultural research by setting up an institute for the management of agricultural research, to be completely dishonest.
“I had a talk with the president of ASAS (the Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences – editor’s note) and with the Education Minister. The idea would be to create a national institute that would offer the management of research. The said institute should have two boards, an administrative board in which the Agriculture Ministry would play first fiddle, so to speak, followed by the Education Ministry and by ASAS to a lesser extent. The scientific board would go to ASAS, which is a scientific body. The Agriculture Ministry and the Education Ministry should ensure the financing, ensuring decent salaries in order to attract young people in the system,” Irimescu said.
According to the aforementioned source, agricultural research currently finds itself in an extremely serious condition in Romania, the surface areas used for agricultural research having halved compared to the level registered in the mid-1990s.
“Only 30,000 hectares are left out of the 70,000 hectares that ASAS had. The Education and Research Ministry managed to bring 7 national institutes under its coordination. It basically took them away from ASAS. One institute is ours – ISPIF – and the rest are 12 branch institutes and 40 research stations subordinated to ASAS,” the Agriculture Minister added.
Over the last 25 years, the agricultural research sector experienced immense real-estate pressure, and destabilizing pressure.
The number of research units has dropped from 121 to just 57. Likewise, the number of researchers has dropped from 3,050 in the 1990s to around 600 now.
So what is the purpose of a management institute then? Probably that of wasting money…