An outlook on Romanian agriculture at present.
According to the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Romania’s corn harvest of 8.47 million tons has slightly decreased as compared to last year with only 5.6% in spite of this summer’s drought, but saw a sharp drop, by nearly 25%, if we compare it to the record production of 11.3 million tons reported in 2014. The average harvest per hectare this year, on a surface of 2.17 million hectares, stays at 3.9 tons - on the rise as compared to last year’s 3.4 tons harvested from a surface of 2.6 million hectares.
Romania’s domestic need of corn stays at 4.5 million tons, which translates into significant export opportunities. In the first 7 months this year, Romania’s corn exports to EU and non-EU countries totaled 1.4 million tons. As for the sunflower harvests, Agriculture Ministry data indicates a production of 1.8 million tons for 2016 with an average of roughly 1.9 tons per hectare - on the rise as compared to last year when production stood at 1.78 tons. This sunflower yield also offers export opportunities to Romania as the country’s consumption needs amount to 750 thousand tons.
Romania’s rye and wheat yields have this year risen by 6% as compared to 2015, up to 8.5 million tons, with an average of over 4 tons per hectare over two million farmland hectares. Last year Romania reported 7.98 million tons in harvested wheat, with 3.77 tons yields per hectare on a total surface of 2.11 million hectares. Exceeding the threshold of four tons of wheat per hectare has been a first for Romania in the past 10 years. Romanian Agriculture Minister Achim Irimescu has told Radio Romania.
“Romanian agriculture is already effective and this is visible in the way it performs. Medium and large-scale farms account for 48% of Romania’s farmland and it’s very clear this sector gets good results. However, we’ve been criticised constantly for the fact that 85% of direct beneficiaries have been operating on up to 5 hectares of farmland. In the case of these small farms things aren’t going that well; results aren’t very good in terms of both crops and cattle breeding. A cow in a peasant household gives three tons of milk per year whereas commercial farms may obtain 10-11 tons easily. In my opinion, small farms particularly in hill and mountainous areas should focus more on beef cattle, whereas dairy cattle should be the choice of commercial farms, the ones able to meet the market’s demand. In this way dairy cattle can be significantly reduced.”
The meat market in Romania has also reported a shortage of pork supplies.
“The latest crisis triggered by a shortage in pork supplies, when many producers have diminished activity or gone bankrupt, has also had a negative impact on the market supply. China has recovered, because the Chinese faced economic problems and started to massively import foodstuffs, and they are big consumers of pork. We also hope the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation will not be extended. And against the backdrop of reopened international markets and diminished activities in a series of Romanian producers, caused by the crisis, once consumption resumes, it’s only natural to see a deficit of pork supplies on the European market.”
Also worth noting is that a third of Romania’s employed population works in agriculture, accounting for 5-6% of the country’s GDP, as Tudorel Andrei, head of the National Institute for Statistics has pointed out. “Another issue is the large number of farming enterprises, be they farms or households. Romania boasts 3.6 million farming enterprises, which account for 30% of the EU’s total. They seem big figures, but we should not forget that France was in a similar situation. Back in the 50s, the French had the same number of farming enterprises, around 4 million, but managed to trim that number down to only 600 thousand at present”, Tudorel Andrei went on to say.
(Translated by D. Bilt)