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Romania Table of Contents



Although gross agricultural output had been increasing at a rate four times higher than population growth between 1950 and 1980, food availability remained inadequate. In 1981 rationing was imposed for the first time since 1953, and it remained in effect throughout the decade, as the regime exported as much as possible to pay off the foreign debt. In 1985 the average citizen was eligible to receive 54.88 kilograms of meat and fish, 1.1 kilograms of margarine, 9.6 kilograms of cooking oil, 14.8 kilograms of sugar, 114.5 kilograms of flour, 45.3 kilograms of potatoes, 20 kilograms of fruit, and 114 eggs per year. In reality, most Romanians were unable to obtain even these scant rations, as the situation deteriorated even further in following years. The food supply program of 1988 enacted by the GNA provided for an annual per capita consumption of 38 liters of milk, 3.5 kilograms of cheese, 1.5 kilograms of butter, 128 eggs, 21 kilograms of sweets, 3.6 kilograms of rice, 500 grams of oatmeal, and 22 kilograms of cornmeal.

Reliable statistics on food consumption were not available during the 1980s. Comecon statistical reports omitted Romanian data after 1981. Romania's own statistical yearbooks stopped reporting figures for consumption of food and many other commodities, including clothing, appliances, automobiles, and bicycles. Ceausescu claimed in November 1988 that the daily per capita calorie intake of Romanians was 3,200 calories, which he termed excessive. He promised to improve food supplies in 1988 by slaughtering 8 million sheep and between 7.5 and 12.5 million hogs- -an unlikely proposal considering that the entire national inventory included only 18.6 million sheep and 14.3 million hogs.

Data as of July 1989