The RO PAC Alliances argues that the draft law concerning trade in farmland with foreigners suggested by the Agriculture Ministry is tantamount to land expropriation as trade is done mainly for real estate and energy purposes and in favour of European land speculators.
'Foreigners already own in Romania, through registered companies, between 1 and 1.2 million hectares of land, but I have not seen any foreigner working the land so far. It is again the Romanian farmers who work the land and the foreigners cash in the subsidies coming from the EU. The output of these areas is not even included in the farm circuit, but most is spent on energy cultures. We want the subsidies to be awarded to support food production and to compensate for the losses of farmers who produce food instead of power. The over 1 million hectares already owned by foreigners are in documents, but I suspect some land has been bought without the transactions having been recorded, particularly in the south part of the country and in Moldavia, where there has been no land registry in place. After the law is implemented, the real disaster in the land market of Romania will come to light,' says RO PAC Chairman Claudiu Franc, also chairman of the Federation of Romanian Cattle Farmers.
He argues that the draft law concerning the sale of farm land should be discussed and analysed again and only drawn up after a serious consolation with those actually knowing the matter.
Franc mentions the example of Poland, which limits the sale of land 100 km away from the national border, and the example of France, where the landowner is not allowed to do what he wants with the land because the land belongs to the national heritage.
'Poland has limited the buying of land by foreigners within a radius of 100 km off the national border, arguing that this would be tantamount to a warless occupation of the country. In France, they say the land is the property of the French citizens but it belongs to the national heritage and means something to the French State, therefore not everything goes when it comes to land. Romania should require similar things so that it may be able to ensure food safety and security for the Romanian citizens,' said Franc.
The Confederation of Romania's Peasant Associations (CATAR) and the RO PAC Alliance on Thursday organised at the Indagra agriculture and food trade fair in Bucharest a conference on a new agrarian paradigm in Romania.
The RO PAC Alliance, of which CATAR is a member, represents the largest Romanian agricultural organisations, federations, confederations, leagues and forums that have developed their own version of a national rural development programme for 2014-2020. AGERPRES