A Scientific View of Agriculture
On Monday December 25th 1989, Christmas Day, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena were tried and executed, and their communist regime overthrown.
At a stroke, a system of state controlled farming that prided itself on its efficiency and scientific approach came to an end. Collective and state farms were dismantled, and the scientific infrastructure that had advised about animal and plant breeding, about soil quality, about mechanisation lost its status and its funding.
In this Discovery programme, Tim Whewell looks at what’s happened to Romanian agriculture since 1989, and how agricultural science has had to reinvent itself in a post-communist, free market economy.
He visits one of the largest private farms in Romania and talks to its owner, Mr Stefan Poienaru, about the years before the Revolution. Mr Poienaru now farms 19,000 hectares, and produces wine, cereals, sunflowers and rape seed as well as sheep and goats.
Tim meets Professor Cristian Hera, President of the Romanian Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences. He also visits two research stations: the Fundulea Agricultural Research and Development Institute near Bucharest, and the National Institute of Research and Development for Potato and Sugar Beet at Brasov. Both institutes are finding it hard to adapt post-communist politics and economics.
There seems to be general agreement among the bigger farmers and the agricultural scientists that if Romania is to fulfil its agricultural potential then it has to find a way of bringing land back into larger, more efficient units - as it had been before the 1989 Revolution.