Grain import between fears and prospects

After disturbing public opinion for several months, the subject of Ukrainian grain in Moldova goes beyond the realm of assumptions and suspicions, IPN reports.

Since October 2023, the import of wheat, corn and sunflower seeds has been regulated according to a licensing procedure that can benefit, in particular, processors and livestock breeders. This implies that those who can bring into the country cheaper fodder than that supplied by domestic farmers should not hesitate to do so.

An analysis of customs data conducted by agricultural expert Iurie Rija shows the effect of the licensing procedure instituted for these imports. Contrary to assertions that nothing works in this country or has effects that are opposite to those expected, there were no imports of wheat, corn and sunflower in November. That is if we do not take into account over a hundred tonnes of sunflower seeds, at a price of about 36 lei per kilogram, which suggests that they were ready roasted and went directly to retail chains to be eaten according to Bessarabian customs.

Instead, sunflower exports were of about 50,000 tonnes, at a price of only 6.77 lei per kilogram, down by over 0.5 lei compared to October and September, and by about 50% cheaper than at the beginning of the year.

In the case of wheat, no imports were recorded in November, and only 43 tonnes of wheat were imported from July to November. This is a very small amount given that wheat exports have exceeded 600,000 tonnes. The export price dropped in October to only 3.30 lei per kilogram, but in November it climbed to 3.38 lei.

Corn imports were also not recorded in November, while in July-November there were imported about 1,600 tonnes of corn, especially by particular alcohol producers. Instead, exports in November climbed to about 77,000 tonnes, and since the beginning of the year have risen to over 530,000 tonnes.

In September-November, the average export price was 3.12-3.33 lei per kilogram, the lowest in the last three years.

In such circumstances, the “Force of Farmers” Association is concerned that the lifting of the state of emergency from January 1, 2024 will bring to a dead end all the Commission for Exceptional Situations’ decisions, including the decision of October 4, 2023, which imposed the licensing mechanism for the import of corn, wheat and sunflower.

Consequently, the Association called for the introduction of a stable and sustainable mechanism for limiting the import of grain and oilseeds, similar to those established in Romania and Bulgaria.

The Association also draws attention to the fact that the lack of import restrictions “will not only unbalance the domestic market, but will also jeopardize the export of wheat, corn and sunflower to Romania, which has not  only once warned our country about the danger of reexport of grain and oilseeds from Ukraine, while the blocking of exports to Romania would be a definitive catastrophe for Moldovan farmers.”

In response, the authorities assured that they are considering the necessary measures to protect local producers and consumers.

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