Academic journal article Global Economic Observer

Regional Agriculture in Romania: A Quantitative Assessment

Academic journal article Global Economic Observer

Regional Agriculture in Romania: A Quantitative Assessment

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

At the national level, agriculture is an important sector in Romania's economy, both through its contribution to the GDP growth of, as well as weight of labour force involved in the field. As mentioned in some national analyses, in the last 25 years, performances of Romanian agricultural sector remain relatively modest, compared with its potential. Its contribution (agriculture, forestry and fisheries) to national gross value added (GVA) has accounted for around 5.5% in 2013 and agriculture's share in Romania was more three times higher than in EU27 level (1.5% in 2013) Also, approximately 45.7% of the Romanian population lives in rural areas, as compared with 23.6% in the EU 27 and 30% of the population is engaged in agriculture (2% in the old Member States).

Romania's territorial area is 238,391 km^sup 2^ and includes: 61.3 % agricultural land (about 14.6 million hectares, of which 64.2% arable land, 32.9% natural pastures and meadows and 2.7% plantations of fruit trees and vines); 36.64% forests and other land with forestry vegetation (National Institute of Statistics [NIS], 2014). Geographically, rural space in Romania is well-proportioned, including: 33% plains (down to 300 m altitude), 37% hills (from 300 to 1,000 m) and 30% mountainous (over 1,000 m altitude). In ternis of regional territorial distribution, the rural space is balanced between the 7 macro regions (14.33% North-West, 14.30 % Centre, 15.46% North-East, 15% South-East, 14.45% South, 12.25% South-West, 13.44% West) and the Bucharest-Ilfov Region with only 0.76 percentage points of Romania's territoiy.

According to The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development [MARD], 2014b), in 2012, rural areas have a surface of 207,522 km^sup 2^ (87.1%) and 45.0% of Romania's population lives in this territory. The population living in rural areas are not evenly distributed in the territory of the country. The most populated rural areas are in South - 58.6%, North-East - 56.8% and South-West - 51.9% and North-East Region (63.24 inhabitant/km^sup 2^), while in the West Region of the country rural area is less populated (26.51 inhabitant/km^sup 2^). Such disparities have generated gaps regarding socio-economic developments of the area concerned and on the quality of life of the rural population.

Currently, rural areas are confronted with a demographic decline. Hence, in the period 2005-2012, rural population decreased by 65,646 people. According with this evolution, demographic forecasts are pessimistic until 2015 and afterwards this decline will sharply continue during 2015-2050 (MARD, 2014b).

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the most important instrument of EU to offer many opportunities for Romanian farmers. The CAP will invest nearly 20 billion euro of total allocation of Direct Payments and Rural Development for the period 2014-2020 in Romania's fanning sector and rural areas. Key political priorities defined at EU level include: jobs, sustainability, modernisation, innovation and quality. In parallel, Romania has flexibility to adapt both direct payments and raral development programmes to its specific needs. For 2014-2020, Romania has been allocated around 8 billion euro for rural investments to be spent in accordance with well-defined priorities set out in its rural development programme. With nearly 12 billion euro, the budget available for direct payments in Romania will increase despite a general reduction of 3.2% at EU level. (European Commission [EC], 2014a).

Romanian farmers will take simple, proven measures to promote sustainability and combat climate change with the support of the CAP. 30% of direct payments will be linked to three environmentally-friendly farming practices: crop diversification, maintaining permanent grassland and conserving 5% of areas of ecological interest or measures considered to have at least equivalent environmental benefits. …

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