An outlook on the priorities of the agricultural system in Romania.
Cristian Mihu 09.02.2016
As Romanian Agriculture Minister, Achim Irimescu, has pointed out, the priorities for 2016 of the institution he runs are improving the absorption of European funds, the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy, and the creation of an efficient irrigation system, for which over 1 billion Euros will be allotted by 2020. Achim Irimescu:
“One of our priorities is to encourage associations. Romania loses huge amounts of money, because it does not have groups of producers in the fruit and vegetable field. We can’t speak about success, in the absence of clear-cut forms of association and cooperation, and we can’t properly channel our produce towards consumers, when they are offered by small producers. By creating associations, farmers stand high chances of getting on the market.“
In turn, Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş said he held talks with the Romanian Agriculture Minister on the direct payments in agriculture, which should be made on time, as well as on the proper implementation of the National Rural Development Program.
“We have challenged the ministry, to be more imaginative when implementing the National Rural Development Program, which, according to the new Common Agricultural Policy, gives the opportunity to design and implement some measures, so that they include, for a certain category of beneficiaries, investment facilities, support for young farmers to start a business, as well as financial support and consultancy for farmers’ associations. These measures can be designed to address various fields, sectors and categories of beneficiaries”.
In concrete terms, what is the 2016 agricultural outlook? Agriculture Minister Achim Irimescu has further details:
“In terms of financing, it should be a good year, as you know the amounts of money are higher every year. Last year direct payments stood at 1.59 billion Euros, whereas this year they amount to 1.7 billion Euros. On the other hand, we are already developing projects under the National Rural Development Program, and the first payment requests are now being processed for acceptance, to be later paid. I can’t ignore the fact that the 2007-2013 financial framework came to a close last year and we practically didn’t use 900 million Euros under the Rural Development Program. There are still many things to do, to revise the strategy on irrigations and to start the program on irrigations, to revise the provisions on the Mutual Fund, Agricultural Chambers, which we want to make operational. As you well know, the incumbent Prime Minister, who was once European Commissioner for Agriculture wanted very much to introduce Agricultural Chambers in Romania, because these chambers do not provide a lot of support to big producers, who have everything they need, but to small and medium producers, who need many things, including proper organisation to get on the market.”
The Agriculture Minister has also referred to the results obtained in 2015.
“In terms of the agricultural output, it was a year affected by drought. Of course, results were not very bad. Some of our producers have been affected by drought. Some 80,000 beneficiaries will receive compensations. The amount stands at some 66 million Euros. However, the cereal harvest in summer was good. Of course, as we all know, when the harvest is very good at European level, prices decrease slightly, and maybe it wasn’t the best paid year, let’s say, for our producers.“
As regards the produce, some 204 certificates for traditional products were issued in 2015, their total number amounting to 513. The agriculture minister has also referred to the efforts that are being made with the products with protected geographical indications (PGI):
“We have entered an advanced stage with the ‘Sibiu salami’, as the contestation period at European level will expire very soon. So, the ‘Sibiu salami’ is on point of being protected at European level. We also have the ‘Ibanesti cheese”, which has gone past the contestation period and is practically accepted, and we have another product, ‘smoked Novac fish’, which is the subject of many talks. On the other hand, we are trying to identify new products, to protect them at European level.”
So far, only the “Topoloveni Plum Jam” has a European certification, being a PGI product.
(Translated by D. Vijeu)