Romania strives to reduce its trade deficit in pigs and pork

Romania's trade deficit with agri-food products can only be reduced through development, argues the Romanian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Florin Barbu. He plans to revive the sector and reach a "0" trade balance deficit in pork products in a 5-year period.

The minister declared that "at the moment there are signed contracts for financing 56,000 places for sows, in new farms. This means that after the completion of these investments in about 2 years, we can produce in addition, in Romania, almost 1.6-1.8 million piglets. We will continue this breeding programme in the next period as well, because from the economic calculations we made at the Ministry of Agriculture and discussed with the sector, practically an imported piglet ready for fattening costs almost 128 euros. The production cost for a piglet raised in Romania is 60 euros," the Minister declared.

He emphasized that he wanted all the needed piglets to be produced in Romania, that means about 9 million piglets which can then be fattened. That is why the national support programme for pig reproduction was initiated. While through the National Strategic Plan 2023-2027 (EU), the pig fattening activity can receive financing.

The Minister mentioned that he made the decision to change the way of accessing the European funds from the National Strategic Plan, and those who will invest in animal husbandry will go on separate axes according to species (and to their weight in the trade deficit).

"Everything was created to correct the trade balance in Romania. I am a supporter of the development of Romanian agriculture by developing farms and not throwing money away without having added value," the minister also said.

According to statistics, the number of pigs reared last year on Romanian farms was 17 times less than in the years before the change in regime (1989) and 7 times less than in 2000, and this is reflected in the trade balance where Romania imports more than 750 million euros worth of pork every year.

After the outbreak of African Swine Fever on Romanian farms, pork imports have increased from 290,000 tonnes in 2017 to almost 500,000 tonnes in 2019 and 750,000 tonnes in 2022.