Overview of Romania's agricutural sector

Agriculture represents one of the most important economic sectors in Romania. There are around 3.4 million farms in Romania, according to the President of the Commission for Agriculture, Food Industry and Rural Development in the Romanian Senate quoted by the newspaper Ziarul Financiar. The modernization of the sector is supported by the Romanian government and opens interesting business opportunities for Swiss companies.

Overview of Romania's agricutural sector

Sector Brief

The Rural Invest Programme in Romania, through the Rural Credit Guarantee Fund, ensures the access of the farmers to loans guaranteed by the state.

In order to develop and modernize their farms, including by acquiring agricultural and irrigation technology and equipment, the Romanian farmers can access funds within the National Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020. By 13 October 2022, within the Sub-Measure 4.1 - Investments in agricultural holdings, a total number of 2,950 projects with the cumulated value of almost 1.7 bn EUR were selected in Romania. Furthermore, within the Sub-measure 4.3 - Investments for development, modernization or adaptation of agricultural and forestry infrastructure - irrigation, 440 projects with the total value of around 434 mEUR were selected in Romania by 13 October 2022.

Within the National Programme for the rehabilitation of the irrigation infrastructure, the Romanian Government approved in August 2022 allocations from the national budget of 1.5 bn EUR by 2027. The target is to increase the irrigated surface of Romania from 1.8 million hectares to 2.6 million hectares.

Based on the FRD Center calculations using TradeMap data, the Romanian imports of tractors increased by 27% in 2021 compared to 2020, reaching almost 628 mEUR. The main five origin countries in 2021 were Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium and the Netherlands. Furthermore, the imports of agricultural, horticultural or forestry machinery for soil preparation or cultivation, lawn or sports-ground rollers recorded approximately 190 mEUR in Romania in 2021, 15% higher compared to 2020. Romania imported these products in 2021 mainly from Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary and Poland.

According to the General Director of the domestic importer-distributor of agricultural equipment Serv Class quoted by Ziarul Financiar, the opportunities for the farmers in Romania are to use cutting-edge irrigation technology and to be trained. Furthermore, the Executive Director of the Bovine Union of Cooperatives Bovicoop considers that the Romanian farmers should focus on technology, on improving the logistics and the reproductive genetics and having productive animal herds.

Case Studies

Part of the French Group Monnoyeur, the local importer-distributor of agricultural machinery IPSO recorded a net turnover of around 201 mEUR in 2020, 28% higher compared to 2019, according to FRD calculations based on official financial data. The company’s portfolio includes the following brands: John Deere, Kuhn, Manitou, Ferbo, Bednar, Fliegl, Pichon, Siptec, Perard, Kemper, Zurn, Geringhoff etc.

Holde Agri Invest, a Romanian company that operates agricultural area of almost 10,000 hectares, intends to modernize its farms and to invest in irrigation, machinery and storage spaces. In order to support the development plans, the company raised in 2022 approximately 4.2 mEUR from investors and successfully closed the share capital increase operation. The company is listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

The Romanian agricultural company Grup Serban Holding targets investments of approximately 50 mEUR during the next ten years in irrigation systems, agricultural surfaces, poultry farms, production facilities and storage capacity. The company registered in 2021 consolidated revenues of approximately 108 mEUR, 50% higher than in 2020. Grup Serban Holding is listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

Digitalization of Agriculture

The agricultural sector has potential to grow through the digitalization of certain processes and the implementation of technology in machinery. The investments in digitalization, irrigation and integration bring performance and added value in the agribusiness sector.

The EU pledged to become climate-neutral by 2050 as part of the European Green Deal. Achieving the objectives by 2050 requires actions and investments in digital solutions across multiple sectors including agriculture. The conclusions of the Agriculture Summit organised by the newspaper Ziarul Financiar in October 2022 in Bucharest are that the digitalization in the agricultural sector is indispensable and vital and that the farmers must invest in new technologies and training.

Case Studies

The Turkish agri-fintech company Tarfin entered the Romanian market in 2021.Tarfin targets to support the Romanian agricultural production through technology and to accelerate the digitalization in the agricultural sector. The company focuses on supporting the farmers and providers of agricultural inputs by combining the traditional distribution channels with the technology and financial resources.

Founded in 2020, AgroCity is a Romanian start-up. It develops software that helps farmers manage more easily and efficiently all the data and activities within a farm. With the AgroCity application, the farmers can see the works for every plot and plan them based on the crop sheet, can see the machines positions in real time and can print harvest shipping documents using the mobile printer. Currently, AgroCity has over 420 users active in the application, with around 73,000 hectares worked in a crop year. AgroCity is used by farms with surfaces of 100 - 20,000 hectares.

The Romanian IT company Syswin Solutions developed the customized precision solution SysAgria for farmers. It provides real-time key parameters to plan sowing, harvesting, fertilizer and pesticides application, weather forecast of microclimate, warning of diseases and pests risk, production estimation and NPK requirements for different types of crops.

Author: Jackie Bojor, Director, FRD Center Market Entry Services

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