Italian investors are the largest growers of rice in Romania, their production goes both locally and to export, after they took over the former communist paddy fields and gradually expanded on thousand hectares of arable land in most fertile areas of the country.
According to economica.net data, the first position after the value of subsidies granted by Agriculture Payments and Intervention Agency (APIA), both in the agricultural campaign in 2014 and in 2013, is SC Padova Agricultura SRL, owned by Palma SRL and Roncato Giovanni E Figli SAS, two companies registered in Italy. The producer who took over the former IAS – state agricultural enterprise – from Stancuta (Braila county), originally purchased from the state by Omar Hayssam (ed. note a Syrian-born Romanian financier who was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison after a Romanian court found him guilty of masterminding the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq in 2005) cashed in the 2014 agricultural campaign European funds worth over RON 4.3 million, compared to RON 4 million in 2013.
This is supplemented by the other EUR 1.1 million EU funds received by Contara SRL company, owned by Padova Agricultura SRL and Roncato Giovanni. Italians operates around 5,000 hectares of land in the county of Braila, which were leased from State Domains Agency in 2013 and they have had a turnover of over RON 29 million (EUR 6.4 million). According to local authorities, the Italian investors plan to raise here a rice processing plant, but they face a lack of commodity market.
Riso Scotti, the biggest rice-growers in Europe, received in 2014 agricultural campaign through SC Orezul Giurgeni and Risi Romuno SRL (ed. note with Riso Scotti SPA as shareholder), over RON 3.67 million. Riso Scotti exploits around 4,000 hectares of land in Ialomita county.
Another important rice producer on Romanian lands is CL Agricultural Investments Limited from Great Britain along with Concina family from Italy (Angelo and Roberto). The two shareholders held through Orezul Latinu and Green Harvest Invest SRL companies, around 3,000 hectares of land planted with rice in Braila and Ialomita counties, being according to economica.net estimations, the third largest rice grower nationally.
According to the National Institute of Statistics, Romania cultivates rice over an area of 11,930 hectares in the counties of Braila, Ialomita, Timis and Dolj. In terms of production, according to the latest data available in 2013) over 54,600 tons of rice were produced. The production is however far enough frorm national consumption, so that in the first 11 months of last year Romania imported 50,000 tons of rice, worth EUR 25.6 million from Italy, Bulgaria, Cambodia.
Romania has also exported 14.4 million kilograms of rice, worth about EUR 11 million. Romania’s rice farms have survived using the domestic technology untill 1995-1996 period, when it was obtained an average production of 3903 kg / ha, respectively 2707 kg / ha, although the cultivated areas have decreased drastically. Thus, from 49,000 ha in 1988 – 1989 it reached 3.986 ha in 1997 and only 1,343 ha in 2000, according Agro Business.