To promote, attract and retain Asian direct investment in European industries, services and agriculture, we mainly focus on helping develop these sectors of activity. European agricultural countries boast multiple advantages and unparalleled potential. With efficiency in the use of resources and the advice of a proficient organisation, Europe is a continent where businesses can achieve excellence on a global scale.

2014 was a record production year for cereals, oilseeds, sugar and milk. EU exports reached very good levels boosted by a competitive euro against US dollar, despite the Russian import ban on EU products. Dairy product prices started to recover after the historic production high of 2014 and, despite the quota expiry, no surge in milk production is expected. EU meat production is increasing again, following a few years of decline in supply.

Favourable climatic conditions allowed EU cereal production to reach a new record level in 2014/15 thanks to increases in areas and significantly higher yields for the main cereals. Stocks are expected to further recover, bringing the stock to use ratio up to 18%.

The expected high production of white sugar in 2014/15 implies that significant stocks are to be released to the market in 2015/16, and a contraction of the sugar beet production is expected in 2015/16.

In the dairy sector, 2014 saw an exceptional rise in milk supply, both in the EU and worldwide. This led to a significant price decrease, exacerbated by the Russian import ban.

EU exports performed very well, thus limiting stock accumulation. Substantial differences between Member States were observed though. The current recovery in dairy commodity prices should lead to a stabilisation and then an increase of the EU milk price. However, no surge in milk production is expected in 2015 over the 2014 record, despite the quota expiry in April. The expansion of the EU dairy- and suckler-cow herds leaves room for increased beef production and exports in a period of high world prices.

Despite low output prices, pig meat production is expected to recover, supported by lower feed prices and increased productivity. In the poultry meat sector, production, trade and consumption are continuously increasing. A stabilising herd, firm prices and the new voluntary coupled support give the sheep sector a positive outlook. (Source: EU Agricultural Economic Briefs – European Commission, March 2015)

Referring to Romania, we can easily say that agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the economy, due to its immense potential. Our country still needs to absorb further investments to improve its current capabilities, therefore the business ventures and opportunities are considerable – in terms of investing, exporting or importing goods and merchandise.

Romania has historically been known as the ‘breadbasket’ of Europe, with one of the largest and most fertile agricultural sectors in Europe.

Large-scale farming enterprises and International investment funds are increasingly seeking opportunities in the Romanian agricultural sector, where low land values combine with significant potential yield improvements to provide strong investment returns.

The agricultural sector has been at the center of EU affairs and policy since its inception, and the large size of the agricultural sector in Romania means that success in this sector is vital for Romania’s prosperity.

Romanian Agriculture has the capacity to feed 35-37 million people (15-17 million more than Romania`s population), but it is underdeveloped.

It contributed 6.4% to GDP in 2013, and employed 29% of the Romanian work force. Agricultural land represents 37.73% (14.7 million hectares) of the total land in Romania.

64.1% of this is arable land, 22.5% is pasture, 10.7% is hayfields and 2.7% is vineyards and orchards.

Romania has 3.7 million agricultural holdings, the biggest production being crops (70.8%), followed by animal production (28.5%) and agricultural services (0.7%).

The main problems for Romanian Agriculture are the lack of tractors and combines, lack of specialised managers, low productivity and lack of silos. The organic sector is small (only 0.4% of the agricultural land in Romania compared to the EU average of 3.7%) and the infrastructure is underdeveloped.

Significant EU funds (€8.15 billions) are available for the Romanian Agriculture between 2014 and 2020, to be invested in projects such as: modernising farms, processing units and infrastructure, developing agricultural exploitation and encouraging start-ups in agriculture, forestry, organic agriculture, know-how.

Romania is a net provider of unprocessed agricultural products, but know-how and technology are needed for it to become a producer of value added products. Although EU funding is available, Romanian Agriculture faces a painful lack of financial services.

Buying land in Romania has become easier since January 2014 (foreigners are now allowed to buy land for private purposes and not just for business) but the purchase of agricultural land has to satisfy tests to give preference to local producers where available.

If you are interested in doing business in the Romanian agriculture sector it is highly recommended to find a local partner, especially if you are intending to develop projects based on EU funding.

For those interested to source products from Romania, wheat, corn and barley were the most exported grains in 2014, and total grain exports were 6.67 million tones, 20.6% higher than in 2013. Generally, the export of agricultural goods is on the rise. Romania is a net exporter of unprocessed products.

Romania has few local producers of agricultural machinery and farm equipment (Mecanica Ceahlau, IRUM and MAT Craiova) which makes Romania a good market for manufacturers looking for new markets for their agricultural machinery. (Source: Opportunities in Romanian Agriculture, 2015)