Romania has become a paradise for "land grabbing". More and more large areas of arable land are falling into the hands of major foreign investors who benefit from EU subsidies and favorable prices - usually at the expense of local farmers.
A change to the law in 2014 has made Romania’s pastures and arable land highly attractive to foreign investors, from Europe and beyond. Buying agricultural land brings in big EU farming subsidies. And when farming no longer pays off for domestic smallholders, they feel forced to sell their holdings. It’s turned into a kind of mass fire sale. But in many cases, the land isn’t used for agricultural purposes. Pasture and arable land is left fallow, or it goes into private ownership. And locals are paying a heavy price. Monoculture is destroying biodiversity and cheap agricultural products from abroad are wrecking domestic markets. The land is literally being pulled from under the feet of an entire generation of Romanian farmers.