Fruit production in Romania increased by 40%
European funds have stimulated the set upment of orchards: fruit production in Romania has increased by 40% in the last decade up to 1.8 million tons.
Fruit production increased by 40% in the last decade, from 1.3 million tons in 2009 to 1.8 million tons in 2018, according to the data from the National Statistics Institute (INS). The production increased with the emergence of european funding programs, which stimulated the set upment of new orchards, more productive. INS data takes into account all fruit production in Romania, from fruit plants to berries, from orchards, and also from family gardens.
"In recent years the European funding programs, under the umbrella of Ministry of Agriculture, stimulated the set upment of new orchards and the replacement of the surfaces of old trees with young seedlings resulted in more productive gardens," said Aurel Tanase, the president of the Interprofessional Organization for Food Products (OIPA) Vegetables-Fruits. For example, if five years ago the average production of a fruit tree was of 12 kilograms of fruits, in 2018 the production was of 23 kilograms of fruits / tree.
For the recovery of the fruit trees growing sector the Ministry of Agriculture began to run starting with 2015 through the National Program of Rural Development (PNDR) a fruit trees growing subprogram "Sub-measure 4.1a – Investments in fruit trees growing exploitations", which seeks to stimulate the set upment of plantations of fruit trees and fruit bushes, the replacement of old and on decline fruit trees plantations with viable fruit trees to provide quality productions. The total budget allocated to this sub-measure in 2019 is of one million euro. Aurel Onigaş, owner of Pombis Company exploiting an orchard of 300 hectares of fruit trees in Bistrita-Nasaud, the largest part of the surface having apple trees (245 ha), says that the domestic demand for fruits is increasing.
He sells both fresh and processed fruits, as juices. He also grows plums on an area of 45 hectares and cherries on 10 hectares.
In addition, many nurseries have been set up that offer planting material for setting up fruit trees orchards. At the same time, there is also a trend in setting up berries crops.
Raluca Almagianu invested three years ago in a culture of 0.3 hectares of blackberries in a town in Alexandria county, and it makes about 10,000 kilograms of fruit on a yearly basis.
"I started with the passion for forest fruits. I found this culture interesting and not very difficult to preserve. We started with an area of 0.3 hectares, which I preserved. There is demand on the local market for these fruits, I have customers since I have started, "says Raluca Almagianu, founder of the Grădina cu Mure. She sells the production in Alexandria and Rosiorii de Vede, delivering it personally.
According to the experts, a forest fruits crop involves greater investments than a cereal crop, but the income from the production of forest fruits is significantly higher than that of cereals. For example, a forest fruits crop requires less investment in irrigation and requires a smaller area of soil. In fact, there are some varieties with a very good production, which provide more than 10 kilograms of fruit/plant. The price of one kilogram of blackberries is of 10 lei as average, while the price of one kilogram of wheat is of 0.6-0.8 lei.
In Romania, the consumption of fruits per inhabitant is about 80 kilograms of fruit/year, according to the data from the Ministry of Agriculture. According to Eurostat, only 42% of the Romanians eat fruit regularly. By comparison, 85% of the Italians eat fruit on a daily basis, followed by Portuguese, where 81% of the population prefers such products, including them in their daily diet.