EUROPE’S policy on GM crops 'discriminates' against the burgeoning arable sector in its new eastern member states, Romania's largest farmer has claimed.

Farming company Agricost grows crops on 57,000ha of land in the south east of Romania, receiving around €10million (£8.78m) in EU subsidies each year. The company, owned by Constantin Dulute and with Lucian Buzdugan as its president, rents all the land from the Romanian government on 30 year contracts, although it has spent millions of its own establishing roads and infrastructure in the previously neglected, but enormously fertile region.

The farm’s location near Braila, which is a busy port town sitting beside the River Danube, makes it logistically well placed to ship out huge quantities of grain – and Mr Buzdugan would like to use GM technology to produce even more.

“The EU has banned us from using GMO in Romania yet allows us to import GM feed," he pointed out. "That is discrimination in terms,.

“GM soya could help us resist disease and reduce pesticide but we are forbidden from using it. That doesn’t make sense. Surely it would help farmers become more environmentally friendly in the long term,” he said.

Romania joined the European Union in 2007 and has since steadily advanced in terms of agriculture, creeping up the production tables. The country has a total agricultural area of 14.7 million hectares of which 9.3 million hectares are used for arable purposes.

In 2016 Agricost harvested 416,000 tonnes of grain, which was the highest from a single farm in Romania. The company’s new goal has been set to produce 500,000 tonnes in 2018.

Its owner, Mr Dulute, added: “Tradition, performance and innovation, but also the implementation of new technologies based on efficient resources management, in harmony with the environment, represents the mission of Agricost."