Former AgriMin Valeriu Tabara: Growing aridity impacts almost 70 pct of country's surface

In an interview for AGERPRES, former Minister of Agriculture and current head of the Academy for Agricultural Science Valeriu Tabara said that in Romania, the ongoing, undisputable climate change has brought along a gradual rise in temperatures in the last 15-20 years, by 2 - 2.5 degrees Celsius on average, thus triggering a soil drying process, particularly in the regions of Dobrogea, the Danube floodplain, the Moldova plateau areas and the western part of the country. Aridity is gaining ground, Tabara said, like for instance in south-western Oltenia, where there are roughly 400,000 hectares of sandy soils. Valeriu Tabara says that under the effect of extended scorching heat periods, almost 70 percent of the country's surface - agricultural, arable land and forestry land included - is affected by growing dryness, with a serious impact on the quality of the crops. The solutions, he says, cannot rely solely on irrigation, which only deals with soil moisture but falls short of solving the issue of atmospheric dryness. Valeriu Tabara advises the creation of drought-tolerant varieties and hybrids, as well as moving the sowing campaign forward to March, or maybe February. The "cold-test" - the testing of the germinal seed's or the seedling's resistance to low temperatures and temperature fluctuations - should be introduced as a mandatory requirement for seed companies, so that the farmers are able to choose those fit for early sowing, the expert says, adding that the crops particularly envisaged by such a measure should be corn, sunflower, soybean and sorghum. With Romania experiencing almost every month this year temperature record highs, Tabara says that the other arm of the two-thronged approach should involve technology actions consisting of soil scarifying, loosening and levelling, to allow the storage of the smallest amount of precipitation. Catching the springtime high waters and storing the resource in the Baragan for later use would also be a wise thing to do, says Tabara, recommending also municipalities to harvest rainfall to, for instance, water green space. AGERPRES (RO - author: Mariana Nica, editor: Nicoleta Gherasi; EN - author/editor: Simona Klodnischi)

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