The Interagro group will lay off 5,500 employees in January - over 90% of the total. Most people to lose their jobs are currently working in chemical plants, said the Interagro owner, Ioan Niculae.

"We will shut down all six chemical companies we own, meaning 4,500 people will be laid off. In addition, we will have to lay off 500 people in agriculture and 500 more in various other areas", said Niculae, adding that only a state intervention earlier than two weeks would make a difference.

Niculae predicted a short while ago that Romania may face the most critical food crisis after 1990, in case subsidies and incentives for agriculture are not offered in time.