The agricultural advisory system in Romania

In December 2022 we conducted an extensive research on the needs assessment, but also on the access of small and medium-sized farmers in Romania to know-how services in agriculture (information, training, counseling and agricultural advisory), which reflect the opinions and experiences of more than 310 farmers across the country, as well as of over 50 actors directly involved in the system of knowledge and innovation in agriculture. Today we close the circle on the offer side: what does the public agricultural advisory system look like, the philosophy behind it, the failed reform initiatives of recent years, but also the measures dedicated from European funds – the implementation in the period 2014-2020, but also the prospects of the interventions in the PNS (Romanian acronym for the National Strategic Plan) 2014-2020.

Some of the conclusions

  • Small and medium-sized commercial farms are in dire need of relevant, accessible and easily integrated information into their business in order to survive on the market and develop. At the same time, the information, training and advisory services provided exclusively by the private system (for-profit) are not physically or financially accessible for this category of farms, which now take their scientifically invalidated information on an impromptu basis from neighbors, social media groups or the press. Thus, there is still a need for a public agricultural advisory system, which will provide small and medium-sized farmers with the services that private actors are not motivated to / cannot provide; at this moment, the DAJs (Romanian acronym for the County Agricultural Directorates) are under-budgeted and under-sized from the perspective of human resources, in order to cover the volume and diversity of needs from farmers;
  • The public system should be complemented by an effective, concerted and sustained integration of the agricultural education and research system (universities, high schools, research stations) in the “day-to-day” practice of obtaining knowledge by the Romanian farmer;
  • We welcome the inclusion of a digital knowledge repository platform in the plans for the consolidation of AKIS through the PNS 2023-2027, but this measure must be doubled by a consistent effort to constantly “translate” the official / academic information into an accessible language to farmers, as well as to promote it in the media accessed by them.

The full report can be read here.

The project “Activities for exploring and planning an agricultural advisory system” was financed through a grant by the Romanian-American Foundation, coordinated by the Civitas Foundation for Civil Society Cluj, in partnership with the Romanian Center for European Policies, between January 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023. The information contained in this publication does not reflect the official position of the Romanian-American Foundation.