Lots of opportunities in the Romanian dairy sector

story: MischaBosman

images: Mischa Bosman

Once there were 8 million dairy cows in Romania, now there are only 2 million and the milk production of these cows is declining. Why is this? Here’s the story!

Situation in Romania

There is a lot of agricultural land available in Romania, with high potential to contribute to food security. Not only for the country itself but also at European level. Unlocking this potential requires a high-quality agricultural sector, with a great deal of knowledge, skills and experience. Along with facing the transition towards reinstating private property in agriculture, Romania was also confronted in the last three decades with an exodus of population leaving to work abroad. These Romanians abroad tend to  send the money they earn to their families in Romania.

This directly results in a shortage of skilled labour in the sector, and has a negative impact on the development of the agribusiness sector. For a long time, agricultural education was not seen as a priority. This had direct consequences for, agricultural companies in Romania, which operate in a broad sector: from livestock farming to arable farming and from fruit to vegetable cultivation.

Outflow of knowledge and workers

Due to the limited availability of knowledge and skilled workers, operating machines or applying  basic techniques is becoming a challenge. Knowledge about animal health is also no longer sufficiently available and if cows do not receive optimal care, they produce less milk and live shorter lives. There are many agricultural opportunities in Romania. The improvement must be tackled at the source and therefore in agricultural education.

Partnership in education

The educational offer of green VET education plays an important role in the agricultural development in Romania. This was acknowledged by the Romanian government. In 2019 a delegation of policy makers and educators visited the Netherlands. Since then,  a number of agreements have been drafted on the cooperation between the green education sectors in Romania and the Netherlands.

The Center of Excellence for Agri-Food and Sustainable Development Educational Resources  was established as a booster, accelerator and connector between the business community, education and government. In 2022 , a Memorandum of Understanding was signed  with the Green Table, the network of all institutes offering green education in the Netherlands.

Visits to and from Romania

Before cooperation can be established, it is important that people  get to know each other better.

In that context, several visits have now been made to Romania by representatives from Dutch Educational institutes  In addition to getting acquainted and getting to know each other’s culture, an important part of these visits was to exchange views on  green education and teaching materials. This included a teaching program developed by the Dairy Delta Academy according to the blended learning concept. This gave the Romanians insight into digital learning opportunities. There was also a dialogue on different didactic methods.


During one of the visits to Romania, (financially supported by a Groenpact voucher),  the idea came up to organise field weeks for mixed groups of Dutch and Romanian students. These groups will work on dairy farms whilst analysing the operation and management and draft palns for improvement. Once the plan for the pilot is approved, teachers, experts and students from the participating educational institutions will be selected and prepared.

The participants in this project gain insight into how agricultural management can be improved in a real setting. Together they determine what they need to improve, what has priority, how it should be tackled and what is needed. In addition, they also get to work hands-on in the farm themselves with, among other things, technology, with the cattle, the feed and everything else that is needed. In addition to these learning objectives, the participants learn about other cultures and about themselves.

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