Romania Doubled Its Food Production In 2012

According to the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the deficit of Romania’s trade balance, as regards foodstuffs, stood at some 745 million Euros in 2012, almost double as compared to the previous year. Last year, Romania imported over 6 million tons of foodstuffs, reporting a 6% increase as compared to 2011. Imports exceeded 4.65 billion Euros, that is by 372 million Euros more than the previous year. Last year, exports of foodstuffs exceeded 7.9 million tons and the amount of money that was cashed in exceeded 3.9 billion Euros, the same level registered in 2011. Maize and wheat exports brought in most revenues, totalling 1.14 billion Euros. In 2012, the same foodstuffs ranked first in terms of imports, just like in the previous years, namely sugar-286 million Euros, followed closely by pork meat with 259 million Euros and maize with 191 million Euros. The European Union was Romania’s main agricultural trade partner, both in terms of distribution and purchase of foodstuffs. However, in the first part of the year, Romania’s meat exports were affected by the horsemeat scandal, mislabelled in other countries as beef. The president of the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority, Vladimir Manastireanuhas further details: Vladimir Manastireanu: “We managed to reject all accusations that had been levelled against Romania and Romanian producers. The accusations were brought against us initially by France, as you well know, then by Germany and later on by Greece. During all our talks held in Brussels, at the meeting of the heads of veterinary services, as well as in Dublin, during private talks with colleagues and partners in France and other member states, we reiterated the idea and wish that such situations be disclosed to the press only when we know for sure if and what state is responsible for the mislabelling. Actually, this was also the general conclusion we drew after each of the meetings. Otherwise, we find ourselves in unjust situations, when ungrounded accusations are being made, just like in our case. No one issued an official apology after Romania was cleared of all accusations, and the only effect produced by the scandal was a huge export deficit of the Romanian food industry.” According to Vladimir Manastireanu, over a very short period of time Romania has produced evidence that the country’s veterinary services are doing their job and fully observe the entire European and national legislation. At the same time, the Romanian official believes the line industry is a serious one, and that it labels correctly the meat it supplies to the European market and not only. In spite of this, beef and horsemeat exports have plummeted by more than 20% following the mislabelling scandal, as Romanian producers say. One of the largest Romanian producers and exporters of horsemeat and beef on the European market, Iulian Cazacut, has put forth a series of proposals meant to redress the situation following this scandal. These include a meat exchange, which should function under the authority of the Agriculture Ministry, and the opening of new markets, which call for greater transparency of the supply and demand prices, as well as of the meat origin. Iulian Cazacut: Iulian Cazacut: “First of all, the rules regulating the operations of a meat exchange should be set, because if they are officially established, they must be observed and the Agriculture Ministry could supervise the accuracy of the data operated by a meat exchange.” However, producers seem to foresee some new opportunities. Iulian Cazacut: Iulian Cazacut: “We want to make the best of the moment and capitalise on its positive aspects. In a first phase, we had to defend ourselves, to show the world that we did nothing wrong, but respected and observed all regulations and standards. Currently, we are interested in direct communication with each and every customer and partner. We are further investing in the development of producers’ brands, it is the centrepiece of all our strategies. We can deliver safe meat, of controlled origin, on the market. We would like to see Romanian producers receive further support in order to enjoy access to international markets.” It is also worth mentioning that the Romanian food industry is in the focus of attention of foreign investors. In October 2010, the French company Sofiproteol took over the food grade oil producer Expur Urziceni, which had been controlled by the Swiss group Alimenta. The value of the transaction stood at some 80 million Euros. Other companies active on the oil market are the American firms Bunge and Cargill. One of the best-known companies which produce and sell rice is the Italian group Riso Scotti. Foreign investors are also interested in the meat industry. In 2004 the American company Smithfield Foods purchased the former pig farm Comtim in Timisoara and intends to take the volume of investments in Romania to a total of 850 million dollars. Also, in early 2007 the German sausage producer Reinert inaugurated a meat processing unit in Feldioara, Brasov County. Other food companies active in Romania are the firm Hame from the Czech Republic, the Norwegian group Orkla and the group Nestle. Some other firms operating on the dairy market are the group La Dorna, which was taken over by the French consortium Lactalis in 2008, the French company Danone, the Dutch companies Friesland and Campina as well as Hochland from Germany. balkans Taylor Scott International

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