12 March 2008 Bucharest _ Romania’s agriculture industry shrank by 17% in 2007 compared to the year before, the president of the National Statistic Institute, Vergil Voineagu, said Wednesday.
The country’s Domestic Gross Product (GDP) rose last year 6%, to Lei 404 billion (€ 121 billion) but agriculture contributed just 1.3% to that growth.
Land under cultivation also shrank and more than a million hectares of farmland was not even worked on, Voineagu added.
The country was hit by a severe drought last summer.
The only agricultural products that saw growth last year were wine-making, potatoes and sugar-beet.
According to these figures, agriculture has declined by 50% since 2001 and a quarter since 2005.
Voineagu admitted agriculture was the most difficult sector of the national economy in 2007, and production was at its lowest in 25 years.
In 2007, Romania became a net importer of agricultural products, which contributed 10% to the country’s trade deficit.
The most important contributors to GDP growth was the construction industry which rose by 33%, while the tourism, transportation and IT services grew by 10%.