No cooperatives for producers from Lunguletu, Romania
The farmers in the vegetable production area of Lunguletu, a well-known area for potato and cabbage production, still depend on the intermediaries and on the wholesale markets, considering that they are not able to organize themselves in cooperatives. There have been other association initiatives in Lunguletu over the years, but the established cooperatives didn't manage to become operational.
"There are cooperatives in Lunguletu, but they are not operative. There's no activity. The supermarkets are interested in buying, but they all want to discuss with somebody who produces big quantities. I have tried to gather them, we've had several discussions regarding this matter, but people prefer to sell their products at the market, each one with his own production and they don't want to mingle. Individualism is more consistent", Vlad Ion, the mayor of Lunguletu declared for ZF.
In Lunguletu, the small farmers cultivate approximately 3,000 hectares of potatoes and approximately 2,000 hectares of cabbage, these productions ending up, mostly, on two wholesale markets in the said locality, Lascaie and Matei, according to the locality's mayor.
The price for a kilogram of potatoes "made in Lunguletu" reaches, at this time of year, 0.90 RON - retail price, while the price for a kilogram of cabbage reaches 0.60 RON, according to the market data. We have a cooperative, but it doesn't help us at all. We registered with it just to be registered. We were promised a processing factory, but nothing materialized. I am selling my products on a big wholesale market in my locality. The farmers who own a van go to the wholesale markets in Prahova, Bucharest or Brasov. Even if I have a van, I cannot go because if I lose one harvest day, my production is impaired", a vegetable farmer cultivating 10 hectares in Lunguletu said.
The retailers are interested in collaborating with the local producers of Lunguletu, but they big demands and the prices are low, according to the market data.
"The supermarkets sell potatoes from Lunguletu, but the conditions are very strict and the prices are low. According to their criteria, after sorting the products you end up throwing half of your harvest and at the prices they offer you, you cannot afford such a thing", the 10 hectare farmer of Lunguletu said.
In the same county, at approximately 70 kilometres away from Lunguleţu, 35 fruit producers from Voineşti have given up their „individualism“ joining forces under the umbrella of the Frumosul de Voineşti cooperative, by means of which they deliver apples to Profi and Kaufland.
In the last few years, more and more agricultural cooperatives have appeared on the Romanian market, which collaborate with the retailers for the exploitation of the production obtained.
The cooperatives have started to come alive again in Romania as the farmers have understood that the investments are easily to bear through these cooperatives, the access to the marketplaces being ensured and the agricultural raw materials being cheaper if bought in large quantities. Most of the farmers prefer though to organize themselves in cooperatives, to avoid the headaches given by the sale of their agricultural productions.
In 2017, in Romania, there were 471 active agricultural cooperatives, 217 of which had their turnover above zero, according to the Trade Register data. In comparison, in 2016, less than 200 agricultural cooperatives managed to be operational, according to the source mentioned.
The ten biggest agricultural cooperatives in Romania have had 652 million RON cumulative businesses (143 million euros) in 2017, meaning a 63% increase as compared to 2016, according to the calculations of ZF, based on the Trade Register data. Among the biggest agricultural cooperatives in Romania are Tara Mea, Danbred, Dobrogea Sud and others.