Serbia: The harvest is approaching, silos are overflowing
The storages are full with last year’s harvest, where to store the new grain?
Serbia's wheat, maize and oil crops wholesalers have not managed to clean their storage capacity and make room for grain and wheat from the current crop harvest due to government-imposed export quotas, said Sunčica Savović, Director of the Serbia Grains Association.
Ms. Savović stated for Beta news agency that 900 thousand tons of wheat from last year are still left for export. "This year Serbia will have record amounts of wheat in storages, up to 700 thousand tons since certain amounts will be exported to Italy, Albania and Macedonia on the basis of June export quotas.” Sunčica Savović added that some 800 thousand metric tons of maize still remained for export and that the storage facilities are full with refined and unrefined oil.
The June quotas for wheat and maize have remained at the same level, and the export of sunflower oil has been banned again. "Huge quantities of last year’s crops stored in warehouses present blocked money thus the liquidity of the companies is low and the question is how much grain and oil crops they will be able to buy from the new harvesting season", said Savovic, also pointing out that an additional problem is that the prices of corn and wheat are decreasing for the second consecutive week, which means that the revenues will also be lower.
Savovic further said that the upcoming wheat harvest is projected to have around three million tons on new crop that will be hard to store since the silos are not parched. The director explained that there is no exact inventory of storage facilities in Serbia. According to the inventory from ten years ago, existing storage capacities for cereals could contain 4.5 million tons of produce, while about 12 million tons of cereals and oilseeds are produced. This implies that warehouses will be occupied to the maximum and that increases a risk of crops being infected by various pests.
Moreover, the director added, oil-crops can lose some of their characteristics and value after being stored for a long time. “We have information from port Bar in Montenegro and Port Duras in Albania that they are full with oil from Ukraine. The traders are just waiting for final buyers in order to know which label to print" explained Savovic. The current stock of refined and unrefined oil in warehouses is 40 to 45 thousand tons, while the expected yield of sunflower for this year is about 735 thousand tons, equivalent to about 300 tons tons of sunflower oil. The annual consumption of sunflower oil In Serbia is between 80 thousand and 100 thousand tons. The Serbian Grain Association has requested a meeting with representatives of the Serbian Government to discuss a modification of the export quota model.
Discontented with the announced purchase price of wheat of €0.3, farmers from the Branicevo district blocked the entrance to the local town of Pozarevac. Dissatisfied farmers of the Stig Farmers' Association pointed out that the stated purchase price was lower than in the neighboring countries and asked the Government to revoke the ban on wheat exports.
President of Farmers’ Association Stig Nedeljko Savic stated that farmers understand the situation and that it is important to preserve the peace in society, which is achieved by not increasing the price of flour and sunflower oil, but farmers do not want to solely bear the burden of that policy. The Stig Association representative, Milan Markovic, said that they just want the revocation of the export ban, to let the farmers earn what they need to earn. The Ministry of Agriculture stated for the national broadcaster that the price is determined only by the market. It is expected that the Commodity Reserves will come out in the coming days with an offer to buy the new yield of wheat.
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