Agriculture Minister: Romania to have good grain production in 2008

Romania will have a good grain production in 2008, although no final data have been announced yet, Minister of Agriculture Dacian Ciolos told Agerpres.
He said that not all the estimates are ready of the damage caused by drought to corn and sunflower. Even though the drought has not been this year as severe as in 2007, corn has suffered, notably in southern Romania.
Ciolos said that the Ministry of Agriculture has raised this year the level of subsidies from four to seven million old lei per ha, for supporting irrigation, this could have a good impact on the corn to be sown in spring.
Ciolos also said that although he is optimistic about the grain crop, there still have been problems with storing, in 2008.
Farmers expect the 2008 wheat production to be much better than that in 2007, with an average production higher than 3,000 kg per ha. As many as 7.7 million tonnes have been harvested so far. Corn production could stand at around ten million tonnes this year, if the weather is good, estimates say.
Analysts expect the agricultural production to stand at 52.5 billion lei (15.8 billion euros) this year, up some 10% from last year.
Production stood at 47.7 billion lei in 2007, compared with 50.7 billion lei in 2006, said the National Statistics Institute (iNS). The fall of production in volume was much higher, but the high prices increased its value.
For this year, only the grain production was put at 31.59 billion lei (with the euro traded at 3.5 lei), animal production at 19.19 million lei, and agricultural services at 0.74 million lei.
The European Commission has recently announced that the total grain production could reach 301 million tonnes in the European Union, up 43 million tonnes from 2007, due to better weather this summer than last summer, and also to an increase in the cultivated area.
For wheat, the EC estimates show an average production in the EU of 5.6 tonnes/ha, 4.8 percent higher than the average of the past five years. In the case of Romania, the average production per ha is to be in 2008 of 2.8 tonnes/ha, up 75.6% from the previous year, and 14.3 precent higher than the average if the past five years.
For corn, the European Commission estimates an average production of 6.9 tonnes, higher than the level of the past five years. Romania is expected to register one of the highest relative increases in the EU in the corn production per ha, of 3.5 tonnes in 2008, compared with 1.6 tonnes/ha in 2007, climbing 122.9%.

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