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Exporters of wheat and corn are “burning under their feet”

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Less than three months before the new harvest, Serbia has more than a million tons of “old” wheat for export alone and some 900,000 tons of corn, which it cannot sell to buyers from abroad due to the export ban. The accumulated grain is still in the silos that need to be emptied for the new harvest, and the ban will be a full moon on Monday.

Exporters are worried, as are farmers, because they cannot sell the goods they have buyers for, and since March 11 and the introduction of a ban on wheat and corn exports, the state has allowed only a small part of already agreed goods for Albania and Italy to cross the border.

All other exports stand, and the Association of Grains of Serbia, which has 60 companies that cover 90 percent of exports, is worried because if this continues, companies that do not comply with previously agreed deals will pay hundreds of thousands of euros for penalties.

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The director of the Association of Grains of Serbia, Sunčica Savović, says that there is no way to determine the priority of destinations to which corn and wheat will go, and that they have no information on how contracts are selected and which quantities pass and which do not.

“The government does not have a legal obligation to submit a report on that, so the economy is generally unaware of what awaits us.” “All the time, no one is talking about sunflower oil and wheat flour for the past month,” Savovic told Danas.

At the moment, he says, Serbia has at least 900,000 tons of corn and more than a million tons of wheat in stock available for export, and of the previously signed contracts, the Association alone has a total of 670,000 tons of corn and 460,000 tons of wheat.

In a month, only a small part of the stock went abroad, to Albania , which was personally agreed by President Aleksandar Vučić with the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, and after that the minimum quantities went to Italy. There is now interest in our cereals from Slovenia, because this country mostly imported from Hungary, from which exports have recently been banned due to the war in Ukraine.

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“We know that Serbia will export wheat to a certain number of countries on the list, and we expect that we will be among them,” Slovenian Minister of Agriculture Jože Podgoršek told RTV.

Serbia’s cooperation in this field with Slovenia is not great, namely, according to the data of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce from July 2021 to the end of March this year, Serbia exported a total of 828,774 tons of wheat, of which 625 tons went to Slovenia. Last year, Serbia exported less than 520 tons of wheat to Slovenia, 200 euros the year before, and 300 tons in 2019.

Sunčica Savović says that the quantities that go to Slovenia are minimal, and that in addition to 520 tons of wheat, 266 tons of corn went to this country, which is ten trucks of mostly seed goods.

“We have a minimum quantity signed with them, it is okay that Slovenians are now looking for a cheaper solution, but contracts for Slovenia are minimal and the moment the ban is lifted, new contracts will be signed at market prices,” Savovic said.

She notes that it must be borne in mind that while the ban is in force, new contracts cannot be signed, which would otherwise be done at this time.

“We are not in a hurry, we are burning under our feet. Due to the selective approval of exports for certain destinations and the selective selection of contracts to be passed for certain destinations, all other exporters have a problem and it is a question of when their customers will initiate international arbitrations that will be paid within three to four months, Savovic said. .

She points out that in regular circumstances, the old wheat crop is not traded in May and June, but a new harvest is awaited and contracts for a new wheat crop are signed.

“This ban will spill over to the economy, and then our exporters will have to fight with windmills, they can sue the state, and regardless of the fact that the state’s decision caused problems, foreign buyers are not interested in that.” According to the company, those are penalties worth hundreds of thousands of euros, which is enough to turn the key in the lock and make people who work in those companies lose their jobs “, says Sunčica Savović, noting that we are currently” bigger Ukrainians than Ukrainians “because Last week, Ukraine approved the export of cereals across the borders of Western European countries.

After the introduction of the export ban, the Ministry of Agriculture told Danas that the decision would be reconsidered as soon as possible, but that has not happened yet. During yesterday, neither this nor the Ministry of Trade answered the question when the export ban will be lifted and whether exports to Slovenia may be approved.

When the ban was introduced , Aleksandar Vučić said that the state would buy what was left of the wheat at market prices and that it would be at least 20% more in stock than the consumption, Danas reports.

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