Romanian Corona agri news - update week 18

The latest agricultural news related to the corona virus in Romania: RO agri-food priorities remain unchanged, flights to/from NL still suspended until May 14, Minister of Agriculture encourages purchase of Romanian products, Romanian workers abroad and Covid-19 cases.

Update - 28.04.2020

Romania’s agri-food priorities seem to remain unchanged compared to the pre-Covid situation

The priorities of Romania when it comes to the development of its agri-food sector and which were announced before the occurrence of Covid-19 seem to remain unaltered: association process, storage and processing, development of the livestock sector, more emphasis on commercial family farms and on products produced within Romania. The Covid-19 crisis has actually emphasized Romania’s structural problems: 1. Poor sector organisation, with very limited number of cooperatives/associations. The crises has therefore worsened the access of smaller farmers to formal market channels. 2. Storage and post harvest services – inadequate/insufficient; 3. Underdeveloped livestock sector, which makes Romania an exporter of raw materials and importer of added value products; 4. Huge number of small/subsistence farms – nice for the rural landscape, but with no positive influence on the country’s agri performance as a whole; 5. Low share of Romanian products in large retail chains. All these aspects will shape the future government interventions, be they related to Covid-19 measures or to the new 2021-2027 programming period. However, so far for the 82 million EUR EU funds left unallocated in the current programming period and which could be used to mitigate Covid-19 effects in agriculture, no concrete plans have been disclosed.

Flights to/from NL again suspended

Despite the fact that the national airline TAROM announced a few days ago that it would resume flights to the Netherlands as of May 2, a new military ordinance (no.10) ruled the suspension of all such flights till May 14. Presumably it will not be extended after that date, as also the emergency state is supposed to expire on May 15. Update will follow. Note: although EU citizens can enter in Romania, those coming from “red-zone” countries (including the Netherlands) are placed under state quarantine for 14 days.

Update - 30.04.2020

Growing stocks of agri-food products

The Romanian Minister of Agriculture says that there are large stocks of poultry meat, beef, eggs, dairy  and vegetables at the moment. Some local producers are asking for an import ban. As this is obviously not possible in the EU, the Minister has publicly encouraged Romanians to buy domestic products. He advised people to go to shops and choose Romanian products. “If you cannot find them in shop X, then go to shop Y, until you find them. Then, I assure you that all shops will try to get only Romanian products on their shelves. In this way we shall indeed contribute to supporting the Romanian agriculture and food industry”.

Over 200 Romanians in a German slaughterhouse infected with Covid-19

Around 300 of the company’s workers have tested positive and are in quarantine, over 200 of whom are Romanians, according to a press release of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which is based on data received from the German authorities. Most of the infected workers have shown no symptoms or have had only mild symptoms. Only five of them have been treated in hospital. The Romanians working at this slaughterhouse are not seasonal workers. They seem to be employees of a subcontractor of the German slaughterhouse. The topic of the working conditions of Romanian seasonal workers in Germany is still in the headlines of the Romanian mass media and subject of political debates.

Romania - Updates on Corona