Romania - Country Commercial Guide
Agriculture

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-10-09

Overview

Agriculture plays an integral and unique role in Romania’s economy.  Nearly one fifth (19%) of Romanians are employed in agricultural related activities, compared to 4.1% EU member average.  Romania’s 3.4 million agricultural landowners account for one-third of total agricultural landowners in the EU. However, the average Romanian landholding is 3.7 hectares (HA), considerable smaller than the European Union (EU) average of 15 hectares (HA).

Romania accounts for 11% of the EU area planted with grains and oilseeds. Romania is Europe’s largest corn and sunflower producer and is in the top five of EU wheat and soybeans producers. In 2019, production reached 25.5 million metric tons (MMT) of grains and 4.2 MMT of oilseed. In 2020, Romanian crops have been impacted by an inconsistent weather regime, with frost, wide daily temperature swings and a well below-average rainfall level when plants needed most. These unfavorable weather conditions are expected to reflect in a 15% drop in grain and oilseed production and implicitly, a 23% reduction in exports. 

Despite its prominence in agricultural commodity production, Romania remains a net food importer. In 2019 food and agricultural imports increased by 4.6%, while exports grew by 5.1% (Table 1).  Meat, horticulture, dairy, feed ingredients, and beverages were the major product import categories in 2019, while exports consisted of grains, oilseeds, live animals, and fats.

   Table 1: Total Agricultural trade - Romania (2015-2019)  

 $ Million  

2015  

2016  

2017  

2018  

2019 

 Agricultural Imports  

6,710  

7,511  

8,387  

9,015  

9,428 

 Agricultural Exports  

6,568  

6,825  

7,295  

7,656  

8,047 

 Agricultural Trade Deficit  

-142  

-686  

-1,092  

-1,359  

-1,381 

   Source: Trade Data Monitor (TDM)  

 The United States is a top-20 supplier of food and agriculture for Romania.  Valued at $163 million in 2019, U.S. goods flow into Romania either directly from the United States (mainly bulk and intermediate) or are transshipped through the other western EU ports of entry in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Food preparations, sunflower seeds, soybean meal, distilled spirits, and nuts were the largest categories which account for 65 percent of total U.S. food and agricultural trade to Romania.  

Leading Sub-Sectors

Soybeans and Soybean meal 

Soybeans remains a minor crop in Romania, despite the generous coupled-support programs allocated by the European Union.  Since Romania’s soybean production is substantially below the domestic demand, Romania imports a considerable volume of soybeans for crushing, as well as soybean meal (Table 2). Nearly 90% of these imports are sourced from South America and the United States. 

Table 2: Soybeans and Soybean Meal Imports, Romania, 2015-2019 

$ Million   

2015  

2016  

2017  

2018  

2019 

Total soybeans and soybean meal from world   

292 

197 

254 

346 

243 

-Of which from the United States  

27.3  

17.5  

55.9  

21 

Sources: Trade Data Monitor; National Institute of Statistics   

 

Distilled Spirits  

Romanian consumer demand for distilled spirits expanded again in 2019, with total import growth at 14% in value terms (Table 3). Whiskey imports account for roughly half of total spirits import, followed by liqueurs at 30%, and vodka at 9%.  U.S.-origin whiskey accounted for 23% of total whiskey imports in 2019. 

Table 3: Distilled imports, Romania, 2015-2019  

$ Million   

2015  

2016  

2017  

2018  

2019 

Total Distilled spirits from world  

66.9  

86.7  

110.3  

125.4 

136.9 

-Of which from the United States  

11.4  

14.0  

17.4  

17.7  

15.8 

 Sources: Trade Data Monitor; National Institute of Statistics   

 

Tree Nuts  

The United States is among Romania’s largest tree nuts suppliers and accounts for a quarter of tree nuts imports in Romania. U.S. tree nut exports to Romania grew from $9.2 million in 2018 to $10.5 million in 2019 (Table 4).  The market share for U.S.-origin almonds was 60% in 2019. The decrease in walnut exports was offset by the increase in pistachio exports, which reached nearly $1.5 million in 2019. 

 

Table 4: Tree Nuts imports, Romania, 2015-2019  

      $ Million  

2015  

2016  

2017  

2018  

2019 

Total tree nuts imports from world   

37.7  

28.0  

39.5  

42.6  

41.5 

- of which almonds  

7.1  

8.0  

8.5  

10.9  

10.5 

- of which walnuts  

18.1  

5.6  

15.4  

15.5 

15.0 

Total tree nuts imports from the United States  

6.7  

8.3  

9.7  

9.2  

10.5 

- of which almonds   

4.1  

6.5  

6.0  

5.7  

6.5 

- of which walnuts  

2.3  

1.3  

2.6  

2.7  

1.0 

Sources: Trade Data Monitor; National Institute of Statistics   

 

Fish and seafood  

Because Romanian fish and seafood production is limited, 75-80% of consumption is met through imports. In 2019, frozen fish and seafood imports fell by 11% from last year (Table 5), while U.S. frozen fish and seafood exports to Romania dropped 13% from 2018.  Fish liver and roe accounts for the largest share of U.S. trade, followed by mackerel and Pacific salmon.  

Table 5: Frozen Fish Imports, Romania, 2015-2019 

$ Million   

2015  

2016  

2017  

2018  

2019  

Total Frozen Fish from world  

59  

63  

70 

   83.5 

73.9 

-Of which from the United States  

1.5  

1.8  

1.3 

1.5 

1.3 

Sources: Trade Data Monitor; National Institute of Statistics   

 

Opportunities

  • Pet food   
  • Beef   
  • Sweet Potatoes  
  • Fruit and vegetable juices  
  • Sauces   
  • Wines  

Contact information:

agbucharest@fas.usda.gov   

www.fas.usda.gov  

https://gain.fas.usda.gov/#/ (GAIN reports)