MP Valeriu Tabara of the Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-), a former agriculture minister, told in a recent interview that there is a huge difference between the subsidies paid to Romanian farmers and those paid to other farmers elsewhere in the European Union. He said Romania should increase its efforts to renegotiate some chapters with the European Community.
‘The difference is huge. Other farmers get up to 400 euros per hectare for certain crops, while Romanian farmers get only 70 euros per hectare. Under these circumstances it is virtually impossible for Romanian produce to be competitive. Returning to uniform subsidies for all the EU farmers is currently being discussed within the Visegrad Group, given that there is no more the case for a transition,’ said Tabara.
The Romanian agriculture, he said, is a brand itself and it has formidable potentials for marketing, instead of being a closed agriculture only for the bare necessities. It is unacceptable that Romania is an importer of agri-food products when it has these outstanding conditions. Never in the history of Romania did something similar happen, safe for exceptional crisis situations, he said.
Romania being an importer of agri-food products, meat included, is the biggest mistake, even as a political approach, given that the country has the capacity to grow cereals, the vegetal proteins, but it is still importing 80 percent of its meat demand.
‘It is unacceptable that the country, with a wealth of recipes of great dietary value, does not homologate them as traditional products. There is the soft fresh ham of Banat, then the Sibiu salami, the traditional pate and many, many others.
Then, there are very many meat preparations with a specific traditional knack to them, but the recipes to make them are impressive, conservation included that is not done with food additives.
These have to be promoted as homologated products in the economic system, on the domestic market, and they can also be successful abroad,’ said Tabara.
The great danger facing the country, he said, is that Romania will not get efficiency from the structural funds for its agriculture, because if Romania continues to import and invest in farms that do not have yet the power to conquer the market, bankruptcy will ensue.
Research has been dealt a strong blow, and there are only a handful of people still fighting for nationwide research, said Tabara. It is unacceptable that research stations are left without land, as is the case at Lovrin.
Can anyone see the province of Banat without the Lovrin wheat varieties, without corn hybrids, without producing technology and without a warning centre? The same is the case with Fundulea, Craiova and the Timisoara pasture park, he said.
About desertification, Tabara said that the warning is to the agricultural decision makers that they must step in now to secure irrigation by all means, both by financial assistance and through commissioning the irrigation system.
‘Romania has cereals and vegetable varieties that can withstand high drought, but there is a need for even more drought-resistant varieties in the future obtainable through bioengineering.
There are drought-resistant genes currently being worked with, with the US and China creating their drought-resistant corn hybrids,’ said Tabara.