Drought wipes 1 billion euros from Romanian agricultural sector

This year’s drought has caused losses of more than one billion euros to Romania’s agricultural sector, with 800,000 of the country’s 5.4 million hectares of crops affected.

2021 has seen a record production of 34 million tonnes of cereals and prices maintained by the war in Ukraine. This year’s poor performance, however, is not as bad as what farmers endured in 2020. The first year of the pandemic was also the one with the worst drought in the past half-century, resulting in a 40% loss of agricultural production. .

In Dobrogea, the southeastern region of Romania bordering the Black Sea, maize crops have been among the hardest hit. The unirrigated plots offered nothing but scorched land to the farmers. Nearly 70% of the sunflower harvest, on the other hand, was spared, said Theodor Ichim, president of the Dobrogea Agricultural Producers Association. Financial Ziarul.

This year’s losses amount to €1 billion in lost revenue. To survive future droughts, Ichim and other farmers are investing in irrigation works, building systems that will transport water to their crops when the rains are absent for long periods. However, even those whose fields were irrigated lost profits this year.

“Current productions are lower than the estimates we have made. For example, we expected to harvest 14.5 tons of maize per hectare in the irrigated perimeters, but we obtained between 13 and 13.5 tons per hectare. We have nothing to harvest in the non-irrigated areas. Not even fodder for the animals, the production is nil,” explains Gabriel Stanciu, president of the agricultural cooperative Braicoop in Brăila. The county has the largest share of irrigated crop fields in the country, but has still been affected by drought.

Irrigation may not be a long-term solution, as this year’s drought has also impacted Romania’s water supplies. Last July, Apele Române, the authority that manages the country’s rivers and lakes, advised people to use water supplies sparingly and avoid watering their gardens, as the drought had lowers the water level in some 40 reservoirs across the country.

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(Photo source: Chalice22 | Dreamstime.com)

Lana T. Arthur