Romania-insider.com | July 7, 2011
Romanians fear foreigners’ quest over local agricultural land
Romania has become the land of all opportunities for those seeking to buy …fertile land. Romanian officials have started to express worries about an increasing number of foreign companies buying agricultural land in Romania.
“I am worried about the interest of foreign companies towards Romanian land. The legislation should impose some barriers. Land is cheap, there is a risk we end up with a lot of foreign landlords. We should go more for concession rather than for selling land,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Theodor Baconschi.
Other state officials say Romania might ask the European Commission to extend the land purchase restrictions for foreigners in Romania beyond 2014, when it was supposed to allow foreigners to buy land in Romania directly. Foreigners can buy land in Romania only if they set up companies in the country. In two years, Romania will have to lift the restrictions imposed to foreigners, and they will be able to become individual owners of land in Romania. The European Commission has already recommended Romania and Bulgaria to lift this restriction even earlier.
Following discussions with his counterparts from different countries, Minister Baconschi said he realized there is a quest for fertile land, which doesn’t go only from China to Northern Africa, but from the Gulf to Eastern Europe as well. There are countries where the technology is developed but which face food and water shortages and which would like to invest in the agricultural production in Romania, said Baconschi.
On the other hand, agricultural land is not seen with good eyes by Romanians themselves, many of which, mostly those who live in cities, consider agriculture to be a thing of the past.
A hectare of agricultural land can cost up to EUR 2,000 in Romania, while the costs of a similar plot of land can go up to as much as EUR 50,000 in the Netherlands, for example, according to Romanian media.
Romania has 14.7 million of hectares of agricultural land, of which 9.4 million hectares is ploughable land. The country lacks statistics on foreign vs Romanian ownership of agricultural land.