The agricultural sector, which still affects a high percentage of the active population even if it is decreasing (over 35% in 2002, compared to 40% in 1999), retains its traditional importance, even if its participation in the formation of GDP is dropped to 7.2% (2008). After that in the eighties of the century. XX Romanian farms, both large, collective or state-owned, and the few small family-run ones, had enjoyed state incentives to increase production to the maximum, the privatization of the sector starting from 1990 initially caused serious repercussions: in part due to the legal uncertainty about the new land tenure regimes, partly due to the lack of adequate credit and state support, partly due to the collapse of state networks for the collection and marketing of products.
For several years, thus, the overall agricultural production has been decreasing or, in the case of small family farms, orienting itself towards self-consumption, while at the same time the percentage of the active population employed in the sector increased, to compensate with the arms – often paid in nature – the shortage of investments and machinery. With the beginning of the century. XXI the privatization process of the agricultural sector could however be considered complete, with about 85%. of the agricultural area passed into private ownership (even if with a maximum limit of 10 ha per family in direct allocations by the State) and with the first signs of global production recovery, after a decline that for some productions had reached 50% in the decade 1989-1999; European Union subsidies (the second most important after those granted to Poland) have also improved the situation and have enabled a substantial increase in investments.
According to Estatelearning, the structural basis of Romanian agriculture is however good: the sector can count on large expanses of fertile and flat land, on an abundant and qualified labor force and on a by now substantial supply of agricultural machinery. The areas suitable for cereals are very extensive in every part of the territory, cultivated above all in the large flat areas (Wallachia, Banat, etc.), but also in the Transylvanian plateau and on the sub-Carpathian hills. In addition to crops cereals, at the base of the food needs of the population, large areas are destined to forage, which is necessary for a farm that has also returned to expansion. Among the cereals stand out corn, wheat, which has its best lands in Wallachia and Banat, barley and, at a considerable distance, rice, rye and oats. Besides cereals, potatoes are important food crops, typical of the less hot and more humid regions, legumes and various fruit and vegetable products, such as tomatoes, cabbages, onions, apples, pears, peaches and especially plums. widespread on the sub-Carpathian hills; the national liqueur, the zuica, is obtained from plums by distillation. Vegetable and fruit crops have developed particularly around Bucharest, as they supply the capital’s market, and in the areas surrounding the other major cities, such as Timisoara, Arad etc. Romania is also a country that boasts ancient traditions in the field of viticulture: some qualities of wines now enjoy a wide reputation and are exported for their affordable prices. The vine, for which Romania ranks among the great European producers, is widespread, but the richest vineyards are located in the outer hilly area of the Carpathians. Industrial crops have become increasingly important.
The most significant development was that recorded by sugar beet, which is widespread in Moldova and Transylvania. Tobacco production is also consistent, which is essentially cultivated in Wallachia, and even more so that of flax, present in the valleys of the Eastern Carpathians, and of hemp, which has its best areas in the Banat plain. Finally, sunflower, soy and castor oil are widespread. Once a large part of the territory was covered by a dense forest mantle which the development of crops and pastures has considerably reduced; however woods and forests, in particular beech woods, still occupy a large part (28%) of the national surface and supply wood for both construction and furniture production and for the paper and cellulose industry. Of considerable importance, despite the serious crisis experienced in the nineties, is livestock farming: central, for the needs of milk and meat of the population, remains the cattle breeding, both in the larger farms in the plains and in the smaller ones in the mountain valleys; the pig breeding sector is growing and especially the poultry sector, while the sheep sector is also very important (sheep production is the third largest in Europe after Great Britain and Spain), which also includes transhumant sheep farming in the region of Transylvania; breeds prized for wool, such as sheep, were introduced to the country also including transhumant pastoralism in the Transylvania region; breeds prized for wool, such as sheep, were introduced to the country merinos; Romania is one of the main producers of washed wool in Europe. Beekeeping and sericulture also continue to be widely practiced. Active is fishing; the greatest quantity of fish comes from the Danube and from the numerous lagoons that border the coasts of Dobruja. In Tulcea, Galati and Costanza, canning complexes are installed.