Romania ～Amid Golden Harvests～
By Sigeru Endo,
Former Representative in Bucharest
Romania is situated between 43° and 48° north latitudes, and the capital, Bucharest, is approximately at the same latitude as Abashiri and Monbetsu in Japan. The total area of farmland is 9 million hectares, twice as large as that of Japan. Farmers account for about 30% of the whole working population, indicating that Romania is one of the world's main farming countries.
Romania's border with Bulgaria is formed by the Danube, one of the longest rivers in Europe. The Wallachia Plain, which lies north of the river, is the richest breadbasket in central Eastern Europe. The fertile land is blessed with fine weather in summer, making the land ideal for growing wheat, corn, sunflower and other crops on a large scale since ancient times. The crops grow well under ample sunshine in summer, with abundant harvests in autumn. On the southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains and in the hilly area in the Moldova region lie expansive vineyards, which produce excellent wines with good body.
Summit Agro Romania (SAROM), a business investment company of Sumitomo Corporation as well as our sister company, was established in 1997. SAROM imports agricultural chemicals, fertilizers, seeds, and other agricultural inputs from Japan, the U.S., and Western Europe, and sells them to wholesalers and crop protection product manufacturers in Romania.
For pest control, high-performance crop protection products that are safe to mammals and of low hazard to the environment are essential. However, in order for users to bring the best out of these products, we need to provide users with effective information on how to use the technology, as well as detailed product information. SAROM has agricultural technology experts in each of its development, technology dissemination and sales departments, and provides high-quality attentive services to users in Romania.
As global warming becomes increasingly serious each year, industrialized countries are striving to reduce CO2 emissions to prevent further deterioration. EU countries have set specific targets for reducing the use of fossil fuels as well as for switching to plant-derived biodiesel. The crop considered to have the best potential for biodiesel is rapeseed, and SAROM has the largest share of hybrid rapeseed sales.
Romania was in a state of confusion for more than a decade during its transition to a market economy after the Romanian Revolution of December 1989. When I was assigned to SAROM in 2000, the country was still suffering from high inflation and the continuous devaluation of the local currency, making imports of crop protection products in foreign currency extremely difficult. When imported products were sold to wholesalers in the local currency, there was a risk of not collecting payment. But we faced these hardships and overcame them together with Romanian employees, putting SAROM on the right track.
The Romanian economy is now recovering and investments from overseas are increasing. The local currency had stabilized by the time I left the country and returned to Japan. Romania also joined the EU, a long-cherished dream for the nation, on January 1, 2007, and so has great potential.
SAROM celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. During these 10 years, we have been contributing to the development of agriculture in Romania by providing products with superior characteristics. We will continue to help increase agricultural production and create a richer future for Romania.