Country Focus Data: Romania
March 01, 1996
by Mindy Dake
Located in southeastern Europe, the Republic of Romania's capital is Bucharest.
Demography: Population 23.3 million (1995); 58% urban; Romanian, Hungarian, German languages; Romanian Orthodox (70%) religion.
Geography: Continental climate, subject to periodic droughts in agricultural areas; 237,500 square km total area.
Government: Parliamentary republic. Chief of state is President Ion Iliescu, head of government is Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu.
Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture and Food; Romcereal, the state grain marketing agency.
Economy: Like several of its geographic neighbors, Romania began to move to a market economy from central planning after the overthrow of its political leadership in late 1989. The adjustments caused economic disarray and negative growth for several years.
Romania's economy has turned around, posting positive growth in 1993 and 1994, and annual growth in excess of 5% is predicted for the next few years.
Romania also is in the midst of privatization, but the pace has been relatively slow; in 1994, Romania's private sector accounted for 35% of gross domestic product, compared with 55% in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia and 65% in the Czech Republic in the same year.
Agriculture accounts for 31% of Romania's G.D.P. and employs 28% of the workforce.
G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$2,790 (1994); real G.D.P. growth rate (1994), 3.4%.
Currency: the leu. Jan. 22, 1996 exchange rate: 2,595 lei per U.S. dollar.
Major crops: Maize, wheat, barley.
Maize: Historically Romania's most important crop, annual maize production from 1980-1988 averaged 11.5 million tonnes. Economic dislocations, abetted by spells of serious drought, pushed down that average to just under 8 million tonnes from 1989 to 1992. Production began to recover in 1994, and the 1995-96 harvest is expected to exceed 9 million tonnes.
Wheat: Wheat is another major crop, and production since 1988 has followed a pattern similar to maize; from a record high of 8.4 million tonnes in 1988, wheat production sank to about 3 million in 1992 before rebounding. Production in 1995-96 could approach 8 million tonnes.
Livestock: The livestock sector suffered sharply declining inventories beginning in 1989, bottoming out in 1993. Government programs to assist private producers have helped. In 1994, the private sector held 86% of all cattle, 91% of all sheep, 55% of all swine and 63% of all poultry.
Transportation: Railroads, about 11,350 km, with 10,983 km of 1.435-meter gauge; 461,000 km of highways, with 235,000 paved; grain handling ports are Constanta on the Black Sea, and Galati and Braila on the Danube River.