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Romania Plans to Export 500,000 T of '05 Wheat
BUCHAREST (Romania), June 28 (SeeNews) - Romania plans to export around half a million tonnes of wheat from the 2005 crop, despite an expected drop in grain output due to unfavourable weather, Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur said on Tuesday.

"It is possible to export between 200,000 tonnes and 240,000 tonnes of wheat to the EU and especially to Portugal, which faces a wheat deficit," Flutur told reporters.

Romania also plans to export some 290,000 tonnes of wheat from this year's crop to countries that are not members of the European Union, he said without elaborating.

Flutur said the 2005 wheat crop could be up to 20% lower than the record high 7.77 million tonnes harvested last year.

"The wheat crop might fall by 10% to 20% this year, but we have no exact estimate," Flutur added.

Heavy rains in April and May in Romania and subsequent floods have damaged more than 162,000 hectares of farmland, some 43,800 hectares of them planted with wheat and rye. The ministry said earlier that the floods will not endanger the 2005 wheat crop because the destroyed areas was less than 0.1% of the total acreage.

Romania imported in the first four months of 2005 around 103,200 tonnes wheat, while exporting some 3,200 tonnes. Favourable weather conditions in 2004 allowed Romania to produce more wheat and trim wheat imports to nearly half their 2003 volume. The country imported 841,200 tonnes wheat in 2004, mainly in the first half of the year.

The country's domestic wheat consumption is estimated at around four million tonnes a year.

Flutur also said the ministry was considering to extend an export subsidy of between 10 and 12 euro ($14.5) per tonne of 2005 wheat to Romanian farmers.

In 2004, Romania recorded the best crop year since the country began its transition to market economy in 1990, harvesting 7.77 million tonnes of wheat. The average yield reached a record high of 3.87 tonnes per hectare from a total of 2.01 million hectares sown to autumn and spring wheat.

Romania sowed 2.24 million hectares of autumn wheat in 2004, or 13% above plan, and additional 6,093 hectares of spring wheat until June 13.
MGR Archive 29.6.2005
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