Home Page
News 08 Aug 12

Romania Faces Severe Drought

High summer temperatures in Romania are hurting the economy, which is causing fear that crops will be adversely affected.

Marian Chiriac

Romania’s biggest energy producer, Hidroelectrica, announced on Tuesday that it would reduce its power output by more than one quarter because of the unusually low levels of water.

“Due to the dramatic decrease of water flow in the Danube and other interior rivers, we have to cut production to 700 Gwh, which is a historic low,” the company said in a press release.  Normally, Hidroelectrica produces 1100 Gwh in August, representing around one third of Romania’s electricity output.

Experts say that dry and hot water could result in a rise in energy prices. Meanwhile, the extended drought could also damage next year's harvest, which will drive up food prices.

“Local farmers are facing a difficult situation, that is why the government must declare a state of emergency, which would also require stopping all exports,” says Laurentiu Baciu, president of the Agricultural Producers’ League, LAPAR.

He added that over 80 percent of corn production could be compromised and sunflower production is 50 percent lower. Wheat production has also been reduced to only half of the last year’s harvest, while prices have doubled, Baciu added.

Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin said the situation is difficult but not dramatic.

“Expectation for this year’s harvest is below that reported in 2011, but it is not a situation which should alarm in the sense that we wouldn’t have the necessary food for internal consumption,” Constantin said.

The government has already announced several measures to ease the effects of the drought, allocating €25 million to different projects to offset damage to the crops. Furthermore, the price that farmers have to pay for irrigation water will be cut by 20 per cent.

Agriculture still plays a significant role in the Romanian economy, which is why droughts matter. The country has an agricultural surface of 14.7 million hectares of which 9.3 million hectares are arable.

Almost half of Romania's 21 million people still live in rural areas, but agriculture has long lacked investment and irrigation networks.  Other problems include fragmentation of holdings, property-related lawsuits and obsolete technology.

Most of the country's 2.8 million private farmers own less than five hectares.

While farmers pray for rain, there is no sign of it coming. Temperatures in Bucharest and the rest of southern Romania reached a record 42 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

24 Nov 17

EU Agrees Aid to Help Moldova Reforms

Ahead of a summit of the EU’s ‘Eastern Partnership’ in Brussels, Moldova has obtained aid worth 100 million euros to modernize its economy and plug budget holes.

24 Nov 17

Kosovo Police Arrest MPs For Avoiding Trial

23 Nov 17

NATO To Open Liaison Office in Moldova

Premium Selection

24 Nov 17

Trial Shows Croatian Money Fuelled Bosnian Croats’ War

The Hague Tribunal delivers its verdict on six Bosnian Croat ex-officials next week - but the trial has already revealed how Croatia funded the self-proclaimed Herzeg-Bosnia statelet’s forces while they fought the Bosnian Army.

24 Nov 17

Selective Amnesia: Croatia’s Holocaust Deniers

Despite laws against the denial or diminishment of genocide crimes, the EU’s newest member state has done little to crack down on voices downplaying World War II atrocities.

20 Nov 17

Serbia’s IMF Arrangement Ends on High Note

Latest News from the Balkans

24 Nov 17

EU Agrees Aid to Help Moldova Reforms

24 Nov 17

Kosovo Police Arrest MPs For Avoiding Trial

23 Nov 17

NATO To Open Liaison Office in Moldova