Bucharest, May 25, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Daniel Stroe
Romania will deliver agri-food products to Arab countries, a high ranking official with the Ministry of Agriculture said, weeks after Romanian PM Victor Ponta completed a five country tour in the Gulf early this month.
To this view, Romania signed an agreement for the delivery of agri-food products to Arab countries that provides for the setup of a collection center in Constanta and another one in Doha or Abu Dhabi, State Secretary with Romania’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Daniel Botanoiu told a national vegetable farming conference yesterday.
Speaking of the agreement, the Romanian official argued Romanian products are more competitive in terms of prices. “At the level of the ministry, we are currently trying to open external markets. We have already signed an agreement for the delivery of agri-food products to Arab countries that have demanded vegetables, cereals and animals. They import very many products from Australia and New Zealand although in terms of prices it would be more advantageous to them if they imported the goods from the Constanta Port”, he said.
Two collections centers will be built, one in Romania, the second one in the Gulf. “The agreement provides for the establishment of a collection center in Constanta and another one in Doha or Abu Dhabi, but we must get supply continuity. At the same time, we have to secure homogenous quantity and quality of deliveries. Let us not forget about labelling, which is very important and which we have to start applying this June”, Botanoiu added.
He went on to underline the fruit and vegetable sector needs sustained funding because it was not properly supported upon Romania’s accession to the European Union.
“The fruit and vegetable sector has not been properly supported since Romania’s accession to the European Union. Consequently, the sector needs sustained funding. We have to turn our face to producers instead of those who take from one place and trade in another. The producers in their turn have to teach consumers to seek them instead of seeking intermediaries,” he added.
Ponta’s visit to the four Arab countries is the first a Romanian head of Government has done in more than 20 years. Romania and Saudi Arabia will mark 20 years of diplomatic relations this year, with the two countries’ economic exchange amounting to USD 450 M. In Ryadh, Ponta met King Salman. Other than agriculture, the Romanian delegation also discussed projects in various fields such as IT, tourism and healthcare, gas and oil, constructions and infrastructure.