The largest organic sea buckthorn plantation in Eastern Europe exists in the Gorja town of Cojani, which belongs to the town of Târgu Cărbunești. The plantation covers an area of ​​44 hectares.

Sea buckthorn harvesting is in full swing Photo: Alin Ion

Sea buckthorn harvesting is in full swing, after which it is to be frozen, which is the process by which it is stored and preserved. The production is very good, despite the dry year, reaching 15 tons per hectare.

“We have a drip irrigation facility. We have not been affected by the drought and that is also reflected in the production. We harvest by cutting all the branches with fruit, freezing, threshing. Obtaining the fruit as such cannot be harvested otherwise. The only method of harvesting is by freezing”, said the engineer Valeriu Petrică, from the plantation in the town of Cojani.

Contracts on stand-by due to the price of electricity

Much of Cojani’s sea buckthorn production ends up for export, but for now the market is blocked by fluctuating electricity prices.

“This year, there is not yet a clear demand. A number of contracts have not been established. We are in discussions with partners in Austria and Italy. There are impediments related to the current economic state and the increase in energy prices, because sea buckthorn is kept frozen and there are expenses related to its storage until processing, which increase the cost price. This year, the beneficiaries are reluctant”, explained Valeriu Petrică.

The harvested sea buckthorn is then frozen Photo: Alin Ion

The harvested sea buckthorn is then frozen Photo: Alin Ion

The sale price of a kilogram of sea buckthorn was, last year, 2.5 euros, but now a price has not been established, due to the price of electricity.

In what areas is sea buckthorn used?

The ecological sea buckthorn from Cojani is used in different fields. “We sell to the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries. Sea buckthorn oil is sought after and used in cosmetics”, said the engineer.

Also, part of the production is delivered to a processing factory in Vălenii de Munte, Prahova county, which makes juices and nectar.

Project with European funds, lost due to bureaucracy

The owner of the organic sea buckthorn plantation in Cojani tried to obtain a project with European funds for the construction of a processing plant, but, due to the bureaucracy, it was not possible to access it.

“We tried to get a project with European funds, but we did not manage to access it because we were hindered, one of them being that freezing was considered as a processing method, although sea buckthorn is the only crop that is harvested by freezing , because it cannot be done otherwise. By the time we managed to come up with scientific arguments, recommendations from fruit-growing institutes, deadlines passed and we lost the moment”, added Valeriu Petrică.

“An exceptional fruit for raising and strengthening the immune system”

Buckthorn is a fruit with many benefits, being known as the “Romanian ginseng”. “Among all the tree species and berries, sea buckthorn is the most important in terms of content. It has the most complex content. It has twice as much vitamin C as any other, it has the complex of Bs, the complex of unsaturated fatty acids, those Omega 1, 3, 5 and 7, many other vitamins A, K, E. It also contains trace elements, enzymes, amino acids essential. It is an exceptional fruit for raising and strengthening the immune system”, said engineer Valeriu Petrică from Gorje.

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