Romania is among the world's top 20 potato producers. It is also one of the few European countries where potato production has actually been increasing - from 2.8 million tonnes in 1961 to more than 4 million tonnes in 2006 - while potato consumption per capita has more than doubled since 1990.
The cartof was introduced to Transylvania from Germany in the 1700s. Today it is an important crop for Romania's agriculture and national economy, and for the estimated 2.2 million Romanians who harvest tubers from their own small potato patches each year. Almost all of Romania's potatoes are marketed for fresh consumption, with just 2 percent being processed. In 2005, potato imports totalled more than 140 000 tonnes, while exports amounted to less than 5 000 tonnes.
Romanian researchers are exploring the potential of the potato as a source of ethanol for fuel - tubers produced in the southern zone of Romania under irrigation have yielded enough starch to produce around 4 000 litres of ethanol per hectare. (Source: International Year of the Potato)