Romanian farmers stood in solidarity with Ukrainian farmers and understood that it is important that, in these difficult moments, they contribute to avoid the expansion of the problems generated by the conflict in Ukraine, but the concessions have directly affected the activity and the financial stability of Romanian farmers, says an open letter by farmers’ organisations.
“As a country sharing a border with Ukraine, Romania has offered unconditional support for Ukrainian refugees and contributed without reservation to facilitating the transit of agricultural produce from Ukraine to the other member states of the European Union and to third destinations. Romanian farmers showed full solidarity in their relationship with Ukrainian farmers and understood that it is important that, in these difficult times, they contribute to avoid the expansion of the problems generated by the conflict as a food crisis in third world countries. The European Council passing a regulation allowing the temporary liberalisation of trade, as well as other commercial concessions regarding certain Ukrainian products, has generated, in addition to the desired effects, negative collateral consequences, which directly affected the activity and financial stability of Romanian farmers, incurring financial losses on them, VAT and tax levied on negative differences and bearing the costs generated by these situations. (…) We have emphasised, repeatedly, the problems generated by intermediaries mixing together products from Ukraine and products from Romania and failing to specify their correct origin; that affects the image of Romania on the international markets and will have a long-term effect on prices for Romanian products. The irregularities and deviations from quality standards frustrate the efforts, by no means few, of European farmers to be suppliers of clean food,” reads the open letter signed by the Pro Agro National Federation, the League of Romania’s Associations of Agricultural Producers (LAPAR) and the National Union of Vegetable Sector Co-operatives (UNCSV).
According to the letter, without granting financial aid of at least 100 euros/tonne of product for the agricultural goods currently grounded in the warehouses/silos of the farmers, we can discuss the bankruptcy of the Romanian farmers in the year 2023.
“It is unfair competition to Romania, to us, to farmers and co-operatives: since we are not allowed to grow plants resulting from modern breeding techniques, how can we import GMO agri-food products without the necessary and mandatory traceability? There is no fairness and solidarity between the EU member states to solve this specific problem of the crisis. We believe that without financial aid of at least 100 euros/tonne of product for the agricultural goods currently grounded in the farmers’ warehouses/silos, we will discuss of the bankruptcy of Romanian farmers in 2023.”
Romania is said to have been under the pressure of Ukrainian flows since March of 2022.
“Tariffs on the various components of logistics increased uncontrollably — at least 5 times — and Romanian farmers were penalised by high costs. The availability of means of transport – railcars, lorries, barges, etc. – was another major impediment, because all was diverted to crossing points to transport Ukrainian goods, as the owners of logistics firms were attracted by the high prices paid by Ukrainian sellers. Additional Ukrainian cargos put high pressure on prices leading to diving prices for rapeseed crops, poultry meat and eggs, honey, milk, etc.”
According to their estimates, the financial impact on Romanian farmers is about 200 million euros in losses for about two million tonnes of such goods blocked in stockpiles.
The signatories of the open letter add that the that farmers set up agricultural crops on high production costs in 2022 and 2023, while their low selling prices lead to a losing proposition, and in the short and medium term it means bankruptcy and the disappearance of most of Romania’s domestic farmers.