Fact Check: Ex-Agriculture Minister Did NOT Say US Forced Romania To Destroy That Sector, Thus Preventing It From Maintaining Food Reserves

Fact Check

  • de: Jurnaliștii Lead Stories
Fact Check: Ex-Agriculture Minister Did NOT Say US Forced Romania To Destroy That Sector, Thus Preventing It From Maintaining Food Reserves False Account

Did former Agriculture Minister Adrian Chesnoiu claim that the U.S. compelled Romania to dismantle its agricultural sector, thereby hindering the country's ability to maintain food reserves for its population? No, that's not true: There is no evidence to suggest that Chesnoiu made such a statement. Additionally, the claim refers to a 1997 loan agreement between Romania and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), focused on agricultural deposit adjustments. The IBRD is not affiliated with any U.S. governmental branch, and therefore the U.S. lacks legal jurisdiction over Romania's agricultural policy.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @vandervander1231 on January 31, 2024. The headline of the news article featured in the video (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff) stated:

Former Minister: The Americans forced Romania to destroy its agriculture. We are not allowed to hold food reserves for the population.

The article continued (as translated):

Romania has been forbidden for 20 years to buy food from the state reserve that would last for more than 3 weeks. The provision was included in a loan agreement with the Americans from the World Bank in 1997, which, in addition, obliged us to eliminate all the agricultural companies in the country, leaving the country in the hands of imports and traders.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-02-26 at 21.20.24.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Feb 26 17:35:05 2024 UTC)

The video cites a news article from Ziua News (archived here), a dubious website notorious for making contentious claims lacking factual evidence.

The minister in question is Adrian Chesnoiu (archived here), who served as Romania's minister of agriculture from late 2021 to mid-2022. He resigned in June 2022 and "suspended" himself from the PSD party due to corruption allegations levied against him (archived here).

There is no public record of Chesnoiu ever saying this statement. A Google News search using the following keywords: "Adrian" AND "Chesnoiu" AND "agricultura" AND "distruge" AND "America" (archived here) did not yield any evidence-based reports on this claim.

Additionally, the claim refers to a loan agreement (archived here) between Romania and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) dating back to 1997. This agreement pertains to the adjustment of agricultural deposits, a service often required by developing countries to rejuvenate agricultural prosperity. Within the loan agreement, specific measures are outlined for Romania to fulfill to qualify for the loan.

Notably, the only time the term "eliminate" is mentioned is in the context of fertilizer subsidies, as well as other subsidies, as part of a broader process involving the privatization of various agricultural entities in Romania at the time, as well as the restructuring of the Agriculture Ministry.

According to various experts in the field, Romania does require a reorganization of its food production. While the country holds a significant position in the agricultural market, it heavily relies on imports (archived here). Within Romania's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country outlines its strategies, delivery mechanisms and agenda for this sector.

As an European Union (EU) member state, Romania collaborates with EU institutions on food and farming policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. However, national and local authorities are responsible for enforcing laws agreed upon at the EU level, allowing Romania to maintain autonomy and sovereignty over its agricultural agenda. Although EU funds are allocated to member states based on EU regulations, there is no substantiated evidence supporting the notion that the U.S. influences Romania's agricultural decision-making process.

IBRD serves as the lending arm of the World Bank Group. This international organization functions as a development bank, providing loans to developing countries. IBRD is recognized as an observer at the United Nations Development Group. It was established through international ratification of the Bretton Woods agreements, which emerged from the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in 1944.

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