Infotag’s interview with Vasile Bumacov, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry of Moldova.
Mr. Bumacov, how can you appraise the past agricultural year?
We got good results in wheat and barley [harvest] (833 thousand tons), of which 40% is food wheat. One removed sunflower in the amount of 461.2 thousand tons, as compared with 382 thousand tons in 2010. We hope that most sunflower harvest will be processed as far as sunflower oil has a significant share in exports – about US$50 million. It was removed about 1.1 million tons of corn; and grapes yield amounted to about 500 thousand tons, but above all it is of good quality. However, one had problems with sugar beet. We supposed that yield will reach about 40 tons/hectare, but one got half as much. But altogether, one will produce 90 thousand tons of sugar, which is enough to ensure domestic market, but unfortunately not exports.
In your opinion, what is the dynamics of agricultural development?
If one looks at dynamics of exports growth, one can say with certainty that agriculture develops with a good pace. If in 2010 we exported farm goods worth US$811 million, then for last year we forecast US$976 million. Concerning imports, it amounted to US$593 million in 2010 and we expect US$689 million for 2011. Exports are a quite important indicator for us. The best it is exported wines, nuts, apples, plums and table grapes. And one should grow what is sold well. I would like to notice that when other economic sectors face a drop, and even considerable one at that, agriculture and food industry grew by 5%, and it is not a bad indicator. According to forecasts, share of agriculture and food industry to GDP will make 18% in 2011 and about 53% of aggregate exports. Agriculture’s contribution to the GDP is assessed at 24 billion lei.
Mr. Bumacov, what directions will be of first priority in 2012?
Our agriculture’s salvation is in diversity. We stake on vineyards, orchards. I would like to say that we do not work much in the field of berry growing, but will try to do more. One needs to sort it out with the livestock sector and vegetable growing to the end. Here, we must examine the problem practically and begin doing something, changing. Of course, we understand that main problem is investment, to be more precise its lack. But the government can not help invest at due level; therefore it is important to have people who can do business in agriculture. We know that condition with crediting and markets is difficult. But I hope that one will save means by implementing conservative agriculture.
So, how will condition with subsidies develop this year?
Our farmers are at the new development stage – they already talk that one must not subsidize, but find an access to cheap credits. But it is a quite big problem, as far as credits are expensive in agriculture. Yes, we help via some projects, but it is not sufficient. But it is projected 400 million lei for subsidies, and I am sure that they will be in good demand and will help agricultural producers.
What do you think about woman leaders in agricultural sector?
I have no prejudices against women. Long ago, they became full-right leaders in the sector, equally with men. For many times in my life, I got evidences that women are more concrete, attentive. I am not surprised at all that when a woman begins a business her responsibility helps to look at numbers more objectively, and to make decisions correctly.