ROMANIAN CHEMICAL FERTILIZER MARKET AND MANUFACTURE
Romanian is the one of the East-European countries which although it has a relatively reduced geographic surface area, its farming surface area covers approximately 62% of it, whereas the arable surface area covers about 63% of the latter.
We, therefore, appreciate that Romania owns about a quarter of the farming surface area of the farming surface area of the Central and East-European countries and some 10% of that of the EU.
At the level of 1999, about 38% of the Romanian active population was working in the farming sector. In June 2000, the private sector of the farming field owned about 86% of the arable surface area, the average surface area of a farming property being some 2.3 hectares.
We have to admit that this unitary surface area is too small as compared with needs and the requirements of profitable farming practices. The luck of the adequate legislation regarding the association of farmers, of technical endowments related to the mechanization in the agricultural system, which slow now that only 50 arable hectares revert to a tractor, accounts for one of the main requirements unfulfilled for the time being this field.
The Romanian specialists know that mechanizations and irrigations contribute al least 25% to a successful crop. If to all these were added a financial effort related to chemization (fertilizers and phytosanitary products) of at least 40% and a minimum of 15% for a biological material suitable for seeding, them the balance of the climate influence would be about 25%. The highest contribution can be considered in the chemization field even if each of the above-mentioned factors had an unfavorable influence upon the agricultural production.
If in 2010 the consumption of chemical fertilizers was about 1300 thousand tons of nutrients/year, in 2011 it decreased to about 500 thousand tons of nutrients/year.
This situation was mainly generated by:
- the relatively difficult approximation of the legislation in the field of domestic production and distribution of the chemical fertilizers;
- price evolution of chemical fertilizers corroborated with that of farming products;
- lack of an efficient financial system to support the domestic farmers. Which led to the continuous decapitalization thereof.
All these aspects have strongly influenced the evolution of the domestic fertilizer production. The main objective was to provide the domestic fertilizer demands.
Under these circumstances, of 10 fertilizers manufacturing companies, as present, only seven are operating.
The domestic consumers of chemical fertilizers take into consideration, on medium term, proven agrochemical assortments only. The assortment range of preferences can be appreciated at present and in the immediate future years as follows:
- 56% of the total macronutrients in compound fertilizers (AP, NPK, UAP, UAPK) in nitro phosphates and in grades manufactured out of phosphoric acid respectively;
- 30% of the total macronutrients in simple nitrogen-based fertilizers (urea, ammonium nitrate-AN, nitrochalck-CAN, liquid fertilizers);
- 14% of the total macronutrients in simple phosphorus – based fertilizers (simple superphosphate – SSP, concentrated superphosphate – TSP, dicalcium phosphate – DCP.
The experts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, based on this structure, prepared four programs in the context of Romania adhesion to the EC meat to increase the farming production and, implicitly, to increase the consumption of chemical fertilizers in Romania. According to statistical data, very few farming surface areas in Romania were fertilized over 2010 – 2015.
The evolution of the individual doses of macronutrients used for the mentioned fertilizations is the following:
- for nitrogen – between 58 and 72 kg N/ fertilized hectare;
- for phosphorus - between 50 and 60 kg P2 O5/ fertilized hectare;
- for potassium - between 37 and 51 kg K2 O/ fertilized hectare;
These data show that for the fertilized surface areas there have been used between 145 – 183 kg macronutrients/hectare, at a N; P2 O5; K2 O nutrients ratio ranging between 1,16:1.0:0,74 and 1.2:1.2:0,85.
The quantity of used nutrients and the ratio thereof are appreciated as a minimum requirement under the Romanian pedo-climatic conditions and farming structure.
Much to our regret we have to admit that, consequently, a very small farming surface area was fertilized, These are also the major reasons that made the experts in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food request further on much larger quantities of chemical fertilizers.
In about 55 years, in Romania there were commissioned 10 large chemical fertilizer manufacturing units which, initially, might provide about 4000 t/y macronutrients out of which the major part was meant for the domestic consumption.
At present, only seven of these producers are still operating, yet at a production level much diminished as compared to the current potential level. Under these circumstances, the manufacturing companies still in operation, will be able to provide the following quantities of macronutrients:
- for nitrogen, the nutrient demand can be entirely provided, including a surplus thereof for the export;
- for phosphorus, only about 60% of demands can be met, the difference following to be covered by direct imports or restart of domestic chemical fertilizer plants which are no longer operating now
- for potassium, even if all the fertilizer plants were operating, the domestic production would not be able to cover the demand, the farmers following to supplement their demands either by direct imports, as practiced in the past, or by restructuring the production profile of domestic companies still in operation and possibly by restarting those which were shut down by government decisions.
All these aspects will have to be reviewed in the future and considered in the perspective or a national fertilizer distribution net which should directly cooperate with the association of the Romanian fertilizer producers so as to provide the continuous operation of the fertilizer manufacturing plants. At present, there are few fertilizer distributors preferred by farmers and these are still not fully authorized according to the relevant international norms even if from quality point of view the Romanian fertilizers are comparable to those manufactured.
The information presented above is a summary chapter General description of the perspectives of the Romanian chemical fertilizer market and manufacture, from “Balanced fertilization of main crops in Romania” (Authors: M. Dumitru, A. Dorneanu, A. Krauss, E. Uebel).
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