Romania has 4 times more ecological farms in five years but remains among the last in EU
In 2015 Romania had 11,869 ecological farms, on the rise by 297% against 2010, but remained last in EU with one of the smallest areas of ecological agriculture in Europe, of 245,924 ha, according to Eurostat data. Specialists say that both areas and farms in ecological agriculture dropped substantially over 2013-2015, because of reduced subsidies.
Eurostat data also show that between 2010 and 2015 the number of ecological farms in EU grew by 23.4%.
The most important increase were recorded in Bulgaria (724%), Romania (297%) and Croatia (231%), while in countries like Great Britain and Greece there were the most important drops of 31% and 7%, between 2010 and 2015.
According to Eurostat, in 2015 there were 11,869 ecological farms in Romania, on the rise by 297% compared to 2010, when there were 2,989 such farms.
The biggest increase of the number of ecological farms in EU were registered in Bulgaria. While in 2010 there were 718 ecological farms in Bulgaria, in 2015 their number reached 5,919.
In ecological agriculture, Romania recorded a more temperate area increase: while in 2010 the area was 182,706 ha, in 2015 ecological farms stretched on 245,924 ha.
According to Ministry of Agriculture data, the number of certified operators in ecological agriculture reached 12,231 in 2015, against 3,155 in 2010. Specialists also point out the same descending trend: “in 2012 the number of ecological farmers reached 25,000 farmers, but because of irresponsible government measures their number is 10,000-11,000 today. We lost 14,000 farmers.In 2012 we had about 1 million ecological hectares, but because of the way subsidies were managed, the number of ecological farmers dropped. There was a law granting 1,500 euros per farm per hectare, but the amount dropped to 150 euros per hectare,”said Avram Fitiu, the general secretary of the National Federation of Ecological Agriculture.
He also said the government granted 200-300 euros per farm, but the measure discouraged farmers to work in ecological agriculture.
According to Fitiu, costs of farmers using the ecological system can be 30-40% higher than in usual farming.
Beyond low subsidies, specialists in the field say that one of the major causes of poor development of ecological agriculture in Romania is low market demand, due to low purchase power.