Fresh Manure for Romania

Just happened to be ambling along, minding my own business, when I saw this report.

My translation:

The [Romanian] Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Achim Irimescu, met with American Ambassador Hans Klemm on Thursday. During their discussion, the ambassador explained that America’s priorities are security, the rule of law, and the prosperity of both countries. The American ambassador added that… he hopes to see an improvement in the commercial relation between Romania and the United States.

Interesting. Wonder why Klemm needs to mention security issues when having a discussion with the Agriculture Minister.

Oh right!

Southern Harvest Company, a subsidiary of the American investment fund Anholt Services, announced on Thursday the purchase of 2,700 hectares of farming land in Romania following two separate transactions, PRNewswire informs.
In April 2014, when Romania liberalized the sale of farming land to foreign private persons, Southern Harvest purchased 6,000 hectares of tillable land in Romania in Botosani.

Let’s see. 6,700 ha plus 2,700 ha = 9400 hectares or more than 23,000 acres. Jeepers!

Why that reminds me of this:

Through three subsidiary companies belonging to a €315 million investment fund called Rabo Farm, Rabobank has acquired over 21,000 hectares of farmland since 2011 across Romania and Poland.
An investigation by De Correspondent and the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism has found that in at least 11 cases, plots of land that were purchased by the fund are now being investigated by Romanian state prosecutors and anti-corruption authorities.

My goodness! So is anyone else buying farmland in Romania? Why yes they are:

Today, one key locus is Romania, where land grabbing by foreign investors is on the rise.

And it’s not just field crops either. Smithfield Foods now has 21 huge pig feed lots in Romania. This is the same company that does this evil shit, poisoning the environment in possibly the most reckless manner ever conceived by human beings.

If you read through these reports, you’ll notice again and again that these companies that are buying farmland in Romania are owned by investment groups. Why is that significant?

Well, if you remember my lengthy piece The Saga of Rosia Montana, you’ll remember how the process works.

  1. A group of investors set up a shell company.
  2. The shell company buys land (or a mine) in Romania
  3. The shell company extracts as much profit as possible until the resource is exhausted
  4. The shell company is dissolved, leaving behind poisoned and worthless land
  5. The investors laugh all the way to the bank

A small-time farmer in Romania has a different perspective. The local farmer owns and farms his land with an eye towards the long term. He’s going to take care of his land to continue to make it healthy for years to come and then pass it down to his children.

An investment firm, on the other hand, wants profits now. This means using chemical fertilizers, planting twice a year, and extracting as much tonnage per acre/ha as they can. If this ruins the land in the long term, so what? They got their profits and they can then move on to the next piece of land in some country stupid enough to sell off their heritage for a few dollars.

The owners of these investment firm don’t even live in Romania! All they do is collect the profits from land in some far off place that they’ve never even been to. Hmm, where have I seen that before?

The 1907 Romanian Peasants’ revolt took place in March 1907 in Botosani and it quickly spread, reaching Wallachia. Most large landowners preferred to live in the cities and did not want to bother with the administration of their properties. Therefore, they leased their domains to intermediaries lessors, in exchange for a fixed rent. The lessors in turn would administer the land and try to make a good profit in a short time.

Now it’s starting to make sense why Klemm assured the Agriculture Minister that the first priority was security.

Great job, Romania!

One thought on “Fresh Manure for Romania

Got something to say? Try to be nice!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.