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Higher weather and production costs show that Romania’s grain harvest will be slightly lower than last year’s good production, but it still provides enough surplus for exports, Agriculture Minister Adrian Chesnoiu said in a Reuters interview.

Romania has been among the largest sellers of grain in the European Union and is an active exporter to the Middle East, with Egypt being the main buyer.

The country exports through its main port Constanta, which Ukraine has been using as an alternative route since Russia blocked ports on the Black Sea almost four months ago, and Chesnoiu says pressure is being felt in the port.

Romania harvested a record level of grain in 2021, including 11.3 million tons of wheat. Its cereal crops are generally two to three times larger than its domestic needs.

We will definitely have a stable production this year, for me that means having a surplus for export. If 2021 was an almost perfect agricultural year, 2022 is nowhere near perfect in terms of time and pressure on production costs. Obviously, production is unlikely to be at the same level, but it will ensure domestic consumption and a surplus for exports. “said the Minister of Agriculture.

Asian flour processors are likely to increase purchases of wheat from France and Romania in the new harvest season as supplies from key global exporter Ukraine remain blocked following a Russian invasion, traders said.

“It is important for us to maintain a stable level of production. In this way, without reducing the quantities of cereals produced in Romania, there will be no additional pressure on the market.”said Chesnoiu.

He said he hoped that Romanian farmers would use the EU funds available in the next 3-5 years to increase their processing capacity and add value to their crops.

He also said that the potential risk factors that could trigger export restrictions this year are non-existent at the moment.

“If Ukraine, a besieged country, has not blocked exports, imagine what kind of conditions would have to be met for Romania to block its own grain exports.” said the Minister of Agriculture.

Given that Ukraine has sent less than 4% of the 20 million tonnes of grain it has to move through Romania, observers say the new harvest campaign, which begins in late July, will trigger roadblocks.

Chesnoiu said that the pressure on the port of Constanta existed even before the war in Ukraine, during the peak periods of the harvest campaign in Romania, but now he feels stronger. He said the port would invest in expanding its capacity.

Last year, a record 25.2 million tons of grain were shipped through the port from Romania and its neighbors without access to the sea.

Chesnoiu said that grain storage is not expected to be a problem for Romanian farmers this year, with a capacity of 29 million tonnes, and the level is rising.

The Romanian official also said that Romania could provide temporary storage facilities for Ukraine’s new grain crop, if needed.

Publisher: DC

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