Gheorghe Lăcătușu: It’s good to explain to farmers, through agricultural consultancy, why they need to unite

It’s good to explain to farmers, through agricultural consultancy, why they need to unite, Gheorghe Lăcătușu, Service Unit head at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Romania, stated in a public debate hosted by IPN News Agency. According to the official, only in this way, by explaining the benefits of uniting, small farmers will be convinced to become members of an agricultural chamber.

Regarding the traditions of uniting in the European space, Gheorghe Lăcătușu said that in the European Union there are three models of agricultural consultancy. Initially, the Ministry of Agriculture of Romania applied the Anglo-Saxon model, back in the 1990s. “We also faced problems related to the organization of farmers. At that time, there were concerns about the future pre-accession to the European Union. We also benefited from European funds and we needed to know how to manage them and how farmers could use those funds effectively. The Ministry of Agriculture at that time opted for the Anglo-Saxon model, by setting up agencies consisting only of specialists,” explained the official.

According to him, later, in connection with the political developments, the Anglo-Saxon model was abandoned in favor of the Franco-Austrian model – the model of agricultural chambers. The difference is that the first body includes only specialists, while in agricultural chambers the specialists are coordinated by farmers. “We raised this problem, but it didn’t work although we have a law that is still unrepealed today. Unfortunately, in Romania this model could not be applied. In our opinion, it was due to the fact that they thought from bottom to up, which is to designate the large farmers as bosses, but there is a big discrepancy between the views of small farmers and what the large farmers think as these have the opportunity to finance their own services of considerations. However, in our country this was not well understood and we chose to put the bosses forward. So, this system in Romania didn’t work and doesn’t work today, although the law still exists,” said Gheorghe Lăcătușu.

He noted that there is also the other body, following the Anglo-Saxon model, which was integrated into the agricultural divisions. In parallel, the private sector was stimulated to absorb European funds. Private firms that advise farmers on the development of financing projects developed considerably. “Here it was a success story for us because there were no agricultural chambers to take over this task and the private sector came. But currently we have consulting services in the public units of agricultural divisions. They were integrated, decentralized. They offer consultancy comprehensible to farmers,” stated Gheorghe Lăcătușu.

Asked about the Moldovan-Romanian cooperation in agriculture, the official noted: “We need to know each other better, to cooperate better, to exchange experience. As far as we are concerned, we always talk with pleasure about the Republic of Moldova in all our European endeavors. It is good to explain to the farmers, through agricultural consultancy, why they need to unite and how the European institutions will support them.”

The public debate entitled “Agricultural chambers in the European Union, models for the Republic of Moldova” was the fourth installment of the “Double integration through cooperation and information. Continuity” project that is funded by the Department for Relations with the Republic of Moldova. The content of this debate does not represent the official position of the Department for Relations with the Republic of Moldova.

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