Agriculture Minister: Bulgaria does not need to buy grain reserve

The need for Bulgaria to buy grain to build a reserve has disappeared because the country expects a very good harvest this year, Agriculture Minister Ivan Ivanov told bTV in an interview, according to a statement by the ministry on June 20.

“I was personally convinced in Dobrich, where I attended the opening of the harvest,” Ivanov said.

He said that a risk of grain shortages was not expected.

“We have taken all the necessary steps in this direction. We have provided funds for the farmers, of course, this is inextricably linked with the adoption of the Budget update, because otherwise the consequences will be very severe,” Ivanov said.

The government in which Ivanov is a minister faces a no-confidence vote in Parliament this week, while the legislature is yet to vote on the second reading of Budget amendments. The outcome of these two votes is not predictable.

Ivanov said that the funds allocated for the purchase of grain are with central Bulgarian National Bank and a decision by the Cabinet on how to spend them is pending.

As The Sofia Globe reported at the time, on March 9, Bulgaria’s Cabinet authorised the Agriculture Ministry to spend 1.1 billion leva (about 562 million euro) on buying wheat, sunflower and corn for the State Reserve, a move made against the background of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

A separate statement by the Agriculture Ministry said that in Dobrich on June 19, Ivanov said that “this year we expect the average wheat yields to be close to last year’s levels, providing the necessary quantities for domestic consumption, as well as for export”.

According to Ivanov, Bulgaria continued to be a significant factor in the international grain market, occupying a prestigious 11th place in the world in wheat exports to more than 30 countries in 2021.

He said that wheat accounted for nearly 20 per cent of Bulgaria’s total agricultural exports in 2021.

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