Serbia is expected to be a “significant” grains exporter this year with about 1 million metric tons of wheat available for international buyers, according to the country’s Chamber of Commerce.
Harvesting began a week early in the northern breadbasket region of Vojvodina “because wheat is ripening faster now due to hot weather,” Milan Prostran, the Agriculture Secretary of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview in Belgrade today.
Yields are expected to top 5 tons per hectare (2.47 acres) in Vojvodina and between 3.5 to 4 tons in central Serbia, producing about 2.3 million tons of wheat, Prostran said. This would leave the country with “a surplus of around 1 million tons and we will become a serious exporter after two years when we were selling between 500,000 and 600,000 tons a year.”
Wheat output will rise 22 percent year-on-year to 2.3 million tons from 557,396 hectares, with average yields rising to 4.17 tons from 3.97 tons per hectare in 2012, the Statistics Office said yesterday. The nation typically consumes about 1.3 million tons of wheat a year.
Grain traders will continue to supply neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania, while seeking new markets in the Middle East and relying on Egypt for some amount, Prostran said.
He expects greater global and domestic output to depress domestic wheat prices this year.
The price of last year’s crop dropped 0.75 percent to trade at 22.38 dinars per kilogram or $260 per ton at the Novi Sad Commodity Exchange today, according to the bourse’s website.
“The price of around 20 dinars per kilo could be sufficient to cover all the production costs, still the price for new wheat may fall to between 17 and 19 dinars per kilogram,” Prostran said.
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