Hungary wheat exports set to reach 1 mln tonnes, at most

Crops

Photo by Korobka Dmytro / Shutterstock.com

Hungary's wheat harvest is expected to cover domestic demand of 2.5 million tonnes and leave enough for "up to 1 mln tonnes" of exports, Tamás Petőházi, the head of the National Grain Growers Association, said on Friday, after a meeting of the Harvest Coordination Committee, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Last year, Hungary's wheat crop came to 5.3 mln tonnes.

Petőházi said the drought could "seriously damage" catch crops in the fall.

He acknowledged that grain prices have risen by close to 6% since the start of the war in Ukraine, but said that increase would only cover part of the losses due to this season's bad weather.

He added that the association supports the government's export reporting requirement, in light of the extraordinary situation, but also urges policymakers to offer assistance to farmers.

Agriculture Ministry state secretary Zsolt Feldman said the grain harvest would "probably not reach 4 mln tonnes" and could fall more than 30% under the five-year average. He put the average yield, so far, at 3.6 tonnes per hectare, but said yields vary greatly from region to region because of the weather.

The rapeseed harvest is estimated to reach 400,000 tonnes, at most. Yields average 1.9 tonnes per hectare, a 40-50% reduction from previous years.

Around 1.4 million tonnes of barley have been harvested, with average yields reaching 4.5 tonnes per hectare.

Feldman said the ministry is watching exports closely as well as consulting with farmers, traders, and processers, and expects farmers to apply for a "significant amount" of compensation for crop loss. A decision on topping up the HUF 12.5 billion crop loss compensation fund will be taken when all applications have been submitted, he added.

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