Poienaru: Romania can only be competetive in agriculture

This article is presented by freddy jacobs, managing director - www.pbsworldwide.com

When I read the ZF this week then I could not resist and I had to present you the following article as we deal with many large scale agricultural projects at this moment. 

 Stefan Poienaru, a major owner of agricultural land in southern Romania, has managed to create an integrated business, and is counting on his area of business to turn truly profitable in the coming years. His latest investment centres on biofuel production, with the first step made this autumn, when he signed an agreement for one thousand hectares to cultivate biomass. " (...) Profitability stands at 1,000 euros per hectare, a sum no other crop can generate. The first 20,000 tonnes of biomass will be put to use next year, but we've already signed a partnership with several Greek investors," Stefan Poienaru, manager of Fetesti-based Agrofam Holding, which includes energy supply in its future projects, told ZF.

The Fetesti-based company, set up 17 years ago, forecasts 25m-euro turnover for this year, up around 25% from 2007, when turnover hit 20m euros, according to Poienaru.In the agricultural sector, Poienaru is among the top five players, with operations accounting for over half of the entire group's turnover. He has 12,000 hectares of land leased for farming in the counties of Ialomita and Calarasi - cultivating 7,000 hectares of wheat, between 4,000 and 5,000 hectares of rapeseed and 1,500 hectares of barley each autumn and 2,000 hectares of sunflower and 500 hectares of maize each spring. Poienaru decided to sell just half of grain production in 2008, which stood at almost 65,000 tonnes. The rest of products are kept in the silos built in recent years, whilst Poienaru waits for prices to go up. Agrofam has a warehousing capacity of almost 100,000 tonnes and five collection centres in Calarasi, Braila and Ialomita.

Poienaru believes agriculture will be the only field where we will be able to be competitive in the future. For four years,

Agrofam has also owned a wine cellar and 60 hectares of vineyard. In 2005, the company bought a former bull farm, where he now has 20 stables of goats.

As for services, the businessman wants to start distributing seeds, fertilisers and fuel to other farmers. Services contribute around one and a half million euros to the company's turnover.

Poienaru estimates his company is worth between 60 and 80m euros. He says he has not sold it so far for sentimental reasons.

In another article I could read that the Ministry of agriculture is very busy with the non refundable grants for these projects.

The post-accession funds for 2007 were dedicated to the launch, the submission and the approval of projects, so that a first appraisal of the absorption will possible only at the end of 2008, or even in 2009.  

Out of the 2.9 billion euro non-repayable funds for 2008, the biggest amounts allocated for 2008 will go to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is used to narrow the gaps between various regions in the EU and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), that is 0.86 billion euros, 0.16 billion euros more than last year and 1.02 billion euros.