Romanian Corona agri news - update week 17
The latest agricultural news related to the corona virus in Romania: Romania Minister of Agriculture makes important announcements, unusual fund raising and new support scheme for SMEs.
Update - 22.04.2020
RO Minister of Agriculture: statements during press briefing
Brussels approved the increase of the coupled support ceiling for protected horticulture to 5000 EUR/ha.
Wheat crop this year is estimated at 50-60% compared to last year, due to severe drought. That is 5-6 million tonnes. Domestic demand is around 2.5-3 million t, so it can be covered. However, the Minister warned that if traders will start exporting large quantities (despite the recent mutual understanding), Romania will have to resort again to export limitations.
Brussels approved more flexibility in the allocation of funds unused in the National Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 for companies affected by the crisis. However, Romania has only 82 million EUR left unallocated. Urgency is necessary in devising the 2021-2027 framework. For the next programming period, Romania’s priorities have been announced:
- association (currently very small number of cooperatives exist in Romania);
- food processing and storage;
- livestock sector;
- family farms and medium-sized farms;
- promotion of Romanian products.
President of Egypt called Romanian President
On April 23, the president of Egypt called the Romanian President. Among others, Egypt asks Romania not to stop again wheat exports to Egypt.
Unusual fund raising: Romanian HoReCa entrepreneur raises EUR 1 mln to help hospital in COVID-19 most-stricken region
Stefan Mandachi, owner of the Spartan fast food chain and several hotels in Suceava (north-east Romania) managed to gather donations worth over EUR 1 million to help the Suceava county hospital, the region with most of the COVID-19 cases in the country. This is probably the biggest donation campaign carried out by an individual in Romania to date. Mandachi became better known in 2019 when he built a one-meter highway, to protest about the lack of infrastructure in Romania’s Moldova region. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Suceava, Mandachi decided to “sell” his highway for donations – EUR 10 for each square centimeter. In less than a month, he raised over EUR 1 million, through the 1cm.ro website. All the raised money is going to the Red Cross unit in Suceava, to be used for buying medical equipment (including ventilators) and protection equipment used in the fight against COVID-19.
Update - 22.04.2020
SME support programme
Besides the economic measures already taken to support businesses during the Covid-19 crisis (namely temporary unemployment benefits and postponement of bank loans instalments), the Romanian Government has prepared a programme to support SMEs. It consists of loans for working capital and investments, with state guarantees of 80-90%, with interest rates and commissions 100% subsidised by the state.
Loans can be taken from any commercial bank which agreed to join the programme (more than 20). Applications can be submitted online until the end of this year. Working capital loans/credit lines can be taken for max. 3 years, while investment loans for max. 6 years. Loans cannot be used to re-finance existing loans or to co-finance other state-aid schemes or EU-fund schemes.
The programme, developed a few years ago, has been now substantially adjusted to the current situation. The maximum loan amount in case of medium-size companies is approx. 2 mln EUR for investments and 1 mln EUR for working capital, with a state guarantee of max. 80%. For small sized enterprises, ceilings are lower (such as 200,000 EUR for working capital) however state guarantees can be as high as 90% of the loan amount.
The programme foresees no limit to the number of companies which can apply, until 31.12.2020. If needed, the Finance Ministry will supplement the approx. 3 billion EUR allocated funds (RON 15 bln).
This SME support programme was planned to be launched on April 17, 2020. Unfortunately the programme website www.imminvest.ro crashed immediately, allegedly due to a cyber-attack. Its relaunch is expected this week.
More details on:
and soon on www.imminvest.ro (in Romanian)
President of Romania declared yesterday that gradual relaxation measures can be taken after that date only if the number of Covid-19 will start decreasing. At the moment, despite the fact that figures do not look very bad (9200 cases, 500 deaths, but also 13,000 persons in quarantine and 41,000 in self-isolation), the number of cases is still increasing. The state of emergency expires on May 15.
A recent survey shows that 54% of the arable crop farmers are affected by either Covid-19 or the drought situation which will force them to take measures such as limiting the planned investments or cutting costs. The survey was carried out during April 6-12, the respondents being 280 arable crop farmers at national level, covering 400,000 ha.