At the INDAGRA trade fair, a fruit grower's meeting was organized by the Holland House of Fruit Growing, a commendable initiative that takes place several times a year and which aims to discuss key issues regarding the implementation of projects to be funded by European funds.
This time, in the focus of specialists was the Sub-measure 4.1.a – Investments in fruit holdings.
By analyzing what has happened since 2015 to present, the conclusion is that there is no finalized contract, but only partial payments.
Why? There are many causes: the bureaucracy, the big number of documents requested at the time of filing the files, the very long deadlines for obtaining them, the lack of certified seedlings, the lack of specialized firms in the integrated execution of the planting works and the qualified staff in fruit growing.
“If Poland enjoys 40,000 hectares of fruit trees surfaces on only one species – apple, Romania, with the 10,000 hectares of orchards that we hope to raise with this sub-measure from PNDR, it is only a little progress. It means a little, but at the same time a lot, because the restoration of the fruit trees surfaces is restarted. We come from more than 300,000 ha, from a planting rate of 4,000-5,000 ha / year and a am not nostalgic. That’s what happened in Romania. With this step, we return to the restoration of these orchards, it is just a beginning”, remarked also Mihai Coman.
During this meeting was discussed also about the wish that this pomiculture program to continue beyond 2020.
“Romania has the obligation, where necessary, to continue the negotiations for the resumption of this sub-measure in one form or another (PNDR or reconversion),” said Mihai Coman.
In order to increase the access level of this sub-measure, Romanian officials have operated a number of simplifications, including: eliminating the obligation to use scientifically tested varieties, allowing the processing of fruits from third parties, the favorability note has fallen from 2.4 to 2.0, the decrease of the size of the eligible farms from € 8,000 to € 4,000, increasing the support ceiling for nurseries from € 600,000 to € 1,050,000euro, allowing the use of fruit planting material CAC for hazelnuts and walnuts for the sessions opened in 2017.
The problem is whether, at the time of implementation of the projects, there will be enough certified seedlings on the Romanian market. Especially that during this period there is a deadline for the restoration of the mother plantations and each state has signed orders that have copied European directives through which is limited the total area with standard propagating material or CAC (uncertified).
I asked for the opinion of the specialist to get a perspective of the approach started this year through Sub-measure 4.1., asking how the fruit sector will look in 2020. Here is the answer:
“In 2020 all abandoned orchards will be grubbed up, which is particularly important because they are an important source of diseases and pests in Romania. Let’s not forget that after 1990 we woke up with 300,000 ha, of which in 2000 much was left. They did the 20-25 years cycle. It will be a more modern pomiculture, we do not need large areas, it can be even smaller but with high densities, intensive, superintensive with 3,000-4,000 trees / ha. We will not be able to meet the demand for fruit, investing in fruit growing requires patience, that’s why it’s obligatory another development cycle in order to be able to talk about a consumption of 60-70% of the domestic production.
The implementation works hard, no project is completed, but this is not a very alarming signal because we still have 3 years of implementation. The fruit growing will absorb all the money, and even steps should be taken at the level of state secretaries who go to Brussels to prepare an additional demand for the 10% that can easily be obtained on this measure and possibly the unspent money on other measures to be reallocated to fruit growing. I say this because an orchard is an investment with an economic impact, it lasts at least 18 years in superintensive up to 80 years for huckleberry or hazelnut, “said Mihai Ciobanu, consultant on European funds.