Be it from household production, coming from meat shops, or directly from producers, pork has been a staple food in this country since times immemorial. Back in communist Romania, however, pork became quite rare due to the authorities’ policy providing for serious cuts in consumption including in the food sector. At that time Romania became a major meat exporter, with great financial benefits for the communist regime, but everything was done at the expense of the domestic market.
After 1989, when Romanian producers, regained their contacts with world markets, this sector has been seriously affected not only by the attempts to build a competitive economy but also by the absence of a coherent national policy in this respect. Agro-industrial plants, which used to produce millions of tons of meat, have been closed down and the Romanian market became heavily reliant on imports.
Romania’s EU accession has opened new development prospects for all economy sectors including for pork producers and processors. Romania’s outstanding tradition in this field should have pushed the country up to the highest positions in Europe’s rankings with significant benefits for producers; unfortunately this hasn’t happened yet…On the contrary, Romanian pig breeders have even failed to become big players on the domestic market. Here is with details, Emil Dumitru, president of the PRO AGRO National Federation, an organization which brought producers from agriculture, food industry and related services under the same umbrella.
“We’ve noticed that 50% of the meat we use in the food industry comes from the EU; we don’t produce it in Romania and that’s unacceptable for such a big cereal producer and exporter such as Romania, to not be able to develop a major farming sector, such as the pig breeding sector. Romania imports nearly two and a half million piglets and it’s unacceptable not to develop the pig farming sector in Romania. Given the quite significant European funds available for agriculture now, Romania will have to become a major player on the European pork market once again.”
At international level, Romanian pork has faced a series of major difficulties. Deliveries of pork-based products were banned from the European Union market in 2003, as Romania vaccinated pigs in order to eradicate hog cholera, also known as classical swine fever (CSF). In 2007, the European Commission decided to extend the ban on Romanian firms delivering pork, until December 31, 2009, on the grounds that the swine fever had not been contained. Nevertheless, the European bodies allowed pork processing units in Romania to sell their products on the community market again. This was followed by a full market liberalization, including the possibility of merchandizing live pigs. Speaking about that, here is the president of the PRO AGRO National Federation, Emil Dumitru.
“We had a problem as regards the classical swine fever, where we had a monitoring period. That period came to an end and the monitoring was lifted. At the moment we do not have CSF-related restrictions and the way we can trace the route pork takes from our farms and slaughterhouses is in no way inferior to the way pork is being traded in France or Germany, reason enough for everyone not to worry about that. In fact, we need to win back the Romanian pork market, and only then can we start looking at exports to the EU.”
Pork producers would like the Romanian state to get more involved in the field in terms of economic policies. With details on that, here is the president of the PRO AGRO National Federation, Emil Dumitru.
“I believe the Romanian state never had a strategy to develop this sector. That implies some sort of absorption, attracting the raw matter in some way, of grains, as well as the predictability of prices for grains produced in our farms. Due to the increased automation of farms and the high rate of investment, we can quickly become the world’s biggest pork produced if we have a serious strategy, which is something of paramount importance. By means of its agricultural policies, the state can secure more budget revenues”. (Translated by D. Bilt & E. Nasta)