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As a member of the European Community since 2007, Romania is expected to provide statistical data conforming to the European Commission’s standards. Agriculture has come under particularly close scrutiny with almost four million Romanians earning their living directly from the land. The vast majority of them own small plots of land recovered during decollectivisation that they use for subsistence farming outside of national economic circuits. The Romanian Ministry of Agriculture is gradually integrating the Farm Accountancy Data Network established by the European Commission to assess the “economic size” of farms. The measuring units it imposes are used on a national scale to define legitimate agricultural practices, and a threshold has been set below which producers are esteemed unable to develop a commercial approach. The policies implemented are aimed at helping those who only just reach the required level to consolidate their farms and switch to intensive farming, with the others being disqualified and encouraged to leave the sector. The category of “semi-subsistence” farming was thus created, becoming the focus of the measures introduced. However, the statistical category on which it is based is devoid of substance and a marked inertia in the agricultural structure can be observed. This case study sheds light on the limitations of the effectiveness of figures, demonstrating that European statistics have a significant impact only when national administrations use them as means to strengthen established categories.


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