Weather conditions are once again set to wreak havoc on Romania’s agricultural output. EurActiv Romania reports.
Romania’s corn harvest is set to fall by 4.6% to 8.75 million tonnes this autumn, in sharp contrast to the 10.7 million figure recorded by the European Commission in July.
AgroFinanciar.ro reported that the sharp drop-off was down to drought and high temperatures, especially in the southern, south-eastern and eastern regions of the country.
Current forecasts put this year’s harvest at 2.6% smaller than last year’s and far below the 12 million tonnes recorded in 2014.
Analysis has shown that the 8.75 million tonnes estimated for this year is the lowest level recorded in the last four years and that it is 12.4% lower than the average of the last five years. It means that only roughly 3.75 tonnes were produced per hectare.
Romania’s average corn production per hectare is the lowest in the European Union and is 40% lower than the bloc’s average.
The future of EU’s rural development depends on digital technologies, which are essential to fill the existing gap with urban areas, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan has said.
However, the Eastern European country will manage to retain its position as second largest producer in the EU, behind France. Romania’s 2.45 million hectares dedicated to corn production means it can boast the largest total area in the bloc as well.
The country’s agriculture minister, Achim Irimescu, recently said that Romania had ambitions to become Europe’s biggest corn producer, but lamented that France is able to produce more from less and blamed the situation on Romanian farmers being unable to apply the “appropriate technologies”.
Romania is also currently the biggest producer of sunflowers in the EU, but risks losing this title to both Bulgaria and Hungary this autumn, according to expert forecasts.
The farms of the two old classmates sit side by side in the central Bulgarian countryside. On one, a fleet of tractors ploughs through endless golden fields of wheat. On the other, a woman picks raspberries in the searing sun.
Its sunflower crop is now predicted to total some 1.67 million tonnes, about 15% less than what was predicted three months ago and about 6% less than what was actually produced last harvest. COCERAL, the European association of cereal traders, estimated that crop yield would drop from 1.9 tonnes per hectare to just 1.75.
Again, Romania’s average sunflower production is lower than the EU average; Bulgaria and Hungary can boast yields of 2.2 tonnes and 3 tonnes per hectare, respectively.