Romanian Agriculture Minister Petre Daea wants to set up 30 new irrigation systems across the country.
Even before the demise of communism, Romania had a wide irrigation network spreading 3.2 million hectares. At present most of it lies in ruin, many of the systems were stolen or left derelict. The high cost of irrigation water, the overall underfunding in agriculture as well as the lack of interest in certain cases have over the years led to a constant shrinking of irrigated farmland in Romania. Another contributing factor was climate change, affecting multiple economic sectors of which agriculture is the most vulnerable, considering activities in this sector are directly reliant on climate change.
Authorities have been trying to reinvigorate the system. The line Minister Petre Daea said some 2 million hectares of farmland will benefit from irrigation by the end of the year. Overseeing the building of a new irrigation system in Iasi County, Minister Daea said he wanted to set up 30 new building sites for such systems all over the country, in addition to the 40 systems that are already in construction.
Petre Daea: “We will have 70 building sites all over the country. We will be monitoring how construction works unfold for the irrigation systems. Climate change is a fact, not fiction. We need to set up the 2 million hectares and irrigate them by 2020 so as to ensure production is stable and farmers can use the water. Wherever we have the possibility to use this heaven-sent gift, the water, we have to use it so the production process can benefit both the country and farmers”.
Minister Daea explained the irrigation systems are in a certain state of degradation and are not being used to their full potential. The Romanian official said rehabilitation works in the southern part of Iasi County should be over by April 15, and the systems in the northern part of the county will be rehabilitated starting in September. The Romanian state has a major contribution to the irrigation system, investing and carrying out works by means of the Land Improvement Agency. Investments currently account for 40% of the total budget allotted to the Agriculture Ministry, Minister Petre Daea pointed out.
In another development, the Agency for Payments and Intervention in Agriculture initiated, on March 1, a call for subsidy requests for 2019. Farmers can file for a single subsidy request with county or local branches of the Agency and the Bucharest Office by May 15, even if they are administering farmlands in different towns and villages and other counties. All applications must be submitted to the Agency county branches when applicant-farmers are administering a surface larger than 50 hectares and to local centers when the surface is smaller or equal to 50 hectares of farmland.