The “Choose the Sheep” program has raised the consumption of mutton among Romanians to 37 tonnes per month, which means that 1,500 sheep are slaughtered and delivered to the chain stores, says Minister of Agriculture Petre Daea, in an interview with Agerpres.
Minister Daea spoke about priorities and challenges in 2018, all included in the new governing program, “the Bible of my activity,” the most important being, as in 2017, granting subsidies to farmers, continuing investment in the rehabilitation of the irrigation system and development of the anti-hail system.
The minister also talked about the money that entered this year in the accounts of Romania from the European Union reimbursements, namely 1,079 billion euros in early February, “a consistent and very important sum for the country”.
“Choose from Romanian products!” is the message to the consumer of the agriculture minister, who has noticed that some products are sold by the label, not by their content, and “we must salivate at the product.”
Petre Daea said in the interview that this year he will continue the fundamental program, the number one objective in the governing program, that is granting subsidies in time bringing the money the farmers are entitled to in the country; the second objective, a very strong, very important and extremely complex objective and necessary for the country is the irrigation and hail prevention, so that by the end of 2020 the irrigation system for 2 million hectares will be put in place, but also to cover the entire country with anti-hail systems so that one can intervene when necessary.
Referring to the “Choose the Sheep” program, the minister says that “a lot of things can be done with the wool, on the one hand in the textile industry, on the other hand in thermal insulation (…) but more than that, by sorting the wool, Germans are now requesting all wool remains from Romania. The put layers in different areas, cultivate ornamental or culture plants. Nothing is thrown.”
“I was in Brussels and talked with the hotel chain owners and they no longer admit in their hotels carpets made of something else than wool. Here, we have an extraordinary market … (…) Mrs. Dancila has announced among achievements the fact that we have brought from the European Union 1,079 billion euros. This money is in the country’s treasury through the reimbursements from the European Commission, to which all specialists, farmers and those working in the APIA contribute and we accelerate on the one hand the subsidies to farmers, and on the other hand the necessary documentation to bring the money from the EU,” Daea said.
With regard to agricultural products’ prices, the minister says, “If you are correct on the market, things go well. But for low prices on the market, you have to produce.” When the market is distorted because of a difference between demand and supply, one must have adjusting tools. Here is a topic to be discussed in the future CAP, to be able to compensate the farmer because he loses.
Petre Daea says there is a lot of work in the Ministry of Agriculture and “this work starts with me”.
Asked what he thinks about the new Prime Minister of the Romanian Government, Minister Petre Daea says: “It is unusual. Mrs. Dancila is built only from common sense.”
Romania to support PAC budget post 2020, to say “no” to direct payment cap
Romania will support the budget of the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) post 2020 and of the two pillars within PAC, but will say “no” to direct payment cap, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) Petre Daea told AGERPRES.
“Romania sustains the maintenance of the PAC budget and says no to cap. We want to move towards convergence, to see what perspectives we create for young farmers. A young person today cannot be tomorrow’s farmer without land. What perspectives do we provide for him/her? And from that point of view we have support instruments which entail the 80 percent state guarantee of the working capital loan. It is a normative act that works, 80 percent state guarantees and 20 percent the land value, but under certain circumstances. It is one [a measure – ed.n.] for everybody, but first and foremost for the youth. There are still measures in PNDR [National Rural Development Programme -ed.n] that we need to endow with money, and with solid money in the future PAC,” Daea specified.
He maintains that in the budget of the future PAC, research must have a separate compartment so that “it can feed in order to be able to answer to the great challenges of time, to the climate changes that have become a reality.”
With regard to the acquisition of agricultural land, the head of MADR underscored that the change of the requirements imposed for buying land – a process that is underway – aims at the creation “of a path favourable for the youth.”
With regard to the future PAC, the Minister considers that the Agriculture Ministry has great responsibility when it comes to establishing priorities, but it can only be achieved through dialogue with farmers.
In this context, the Minister for Agriculture will travel next week to Poland and France, upon the invite of his counterparts but will also participate in the Council Ministers of Agriculture in Brussels, where he will discuss with European Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan.
The Minister maintains that he will take the “necessary groundwork” to the meeting of the Council of Agriculture Ministers in Brussels, because the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union will bear consequences.
Agriculture and the agri-food sector benefit from a preferential treatment within the EU and remain by far the largest employer in the community space. Although agriculture as such employs fewer and fewer people, because the number of farmers is decreasing, all activities connected to agriculture – from agricultural inputs, raw materials to distribution and retail systems, this value chain creates 44 million jobs in Europe.
Moreover, agriculture is the element that ensures the unique European market, as there are 500 million consumers who have the greatest say with regard to diversity and food product quality.
The European Union has become the greatest actor on the world market, exporting to the rest of the world agri-food products worth 131 billion euro and importing products worth 112 billion euro. Agriculture also plays an important role in fighting climate change, for the protection of natural resources and clean energy production, given that European farmers own 48 percent of the EU land and forestry manages and maintains 36 percent of the territory.
PAC remains a major consumer of the Community budget, around 40 percent, however the share in the overall budget and within the Gross Domestic Product is dropping.