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Europe, Ukraine and Russia turn to grain imports
KIEV , Bad weather has destroyed swathes of crops across central and eastern Europe and Russia, forcing the region to turn to imported grain to avert shortages, analysts said.
"Many eastern European states, Ukraine and even Russia will import wheat this season imports to the region might total seven million tonnes," said Serhiy Feofilov from UkrAgroConsult, Ukraine's leading agriculture consultancy.
The region has suffered drought, frosts and rain at vital moments during the growing season, and in some cases worries of bread shortages have emerged.
Feofilov said Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria would be able to guarantee enough bread.
Ukraine, Poland and Romania would be the main importers of wheat amid concerns over shortages.
The region would target US, and Canadian grain for supplies after crops in the European Union were also hurt by drought.
"Only grain from the United States and Canada could cover the current wheat deficit in central Europe because traditional exporters like Russia, Ukraine and the EU will not have significant stocks," a Ukrainian trader said.
Ukraine, which exported a record 10.7 million tonnes of grain, including 6.5 million tonnes of wheat, in 2002/03, will import at least 3.5 million tonnes of milling wheat this season after weather killed millions of hectares of its winter crops.
"After record exports in two seasons in a row, our imports might reach 3.5 million tonnes," Feofilov said.
He said Ukraine needed about 6.5 million tonnes of milling wheat to meet domestic demand but could harvest only up to three million tonnes.
Last week Ukraine reached agreements to borrow one million tonnes of wheat from Russia and 1.2 million from Kazakhstan.
But analysts said the United States and Canada could also supply.
MGR Archive 11.8.2003
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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