August 10, 2008
As global food prices are soaring, the Doha trade liberalization talks are dead, more and more countries are going back to self-reliance in food. Western European investors are just discovering Romania’s rice paddies, which were build under the rule of Nicolae Ceausescu. The dictator himself prided Romania as a self-sustainable country.
As the world price of rice has risen – tripling this year and leading to scarcity worries and export curbs by big producers in Asia – European farmers have begun to expand eastward.
In particular, they are buying up rice paddies in Romania, many of which were abandoned after the overthrow of Ceausescu and the end of Communism in Romania in 1989. This gives Romania, an impoverished Balkan state with water-rich lowlands, a hot climate and rich soil, the chance to become a top European rice producer in coming years.
Ceausescu was a brutal dictator who was executed by the revolutionaries who changed the regime in Romania. His policies brought poverty to a potentially rich countries. The paddies may come as a windfall at current rice prices, I think we would be all better of with a successful Doha round.
Source: Reuters news via Romania News Watch.Author : Dániel Antal