Romania hasn’t faced such a severe drought for 50 or 60 years, Agriculture Minister Adrian Oros said Sunday (24 May).
He said the ministry will pay compensation, but the authorities are also trying to encourage farmers to insure their crops by paying up to 70% of the insurance cost.
On Monday (25 May), the minister announced 1.6 million hectares were affected by drought.
Although less than 1 million were officially checked by then by the ministry’s teams, in some counties the areas notified as ravaged by drought are larger than the areas recorded as sown in autumn.
Despite being one of the agricultural powerhouses of the EU, Romania’s farming output is largely dependent on weather conditions as few of its crops are irrigated.
For years, various governments announced programs to invest in irrigation infrastructure, but the expansion of irrigated areas is only progressing slowly.
Minister Adrian Oros said that 50 million euros were allotted this year for the rehabilitation of the main infrastructure and that the ministry will increase this amount by 10%, increasing coverage by 200,000 hectares.
But the investments made in recent years mostly refer to the restoration of old infrastructure, in place since the communist era, which only covers some 2 million hectares, less than 20% of Romania’s agricultural area.