For many centuries Romania's economy was based on agriculture. In the 1930s Romania was one of the main European producers of wheat, corn and meats and it used to be called "the bread basket of Europe." In the 1950s the communist leader of Romania, Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej, began developing heavy industry.
There has been a shift towards heavy industries since the 1970s but the agriculture is still economically important and employs about one-third of the workforce.
Romania produces coal, natural gas, iron ore and petroleum but most raw material for the country's large industrial capacity potential are imported. Prominent industries include chemical (petrochemical, paints and varnishes), metal processing, machine manufacturing, industrial and transport equipment, textiles, manufactured consumer goods, lumbering and furniture.
39.2% of Romania's territory is arable land, 28% forests, 21% pastures, hayfields and orchards and 2.5% vineyards. Corn, wheat, vegetable oil seeds, vegetables, apples and grapes for wine are the main crops and sheep and pigs the main livestock. Forestry and fisheries are being developed under long-term programs. Since 1990, successive governments have concentrated on turning Romania into a market economy.