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EU wheat export subsidies not enough, farm minister says

Hungary expects the EU to take further steps to alleviate the problems caused by last year?s grain surplus, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Imre Németh said after the conference of European agriculture ministers, which approved wheat export subsidies for 2 million tons for the 25 EU countries in total. Last year?s record 16.5-million-ton wheat harvest left Hungarian producers with 3 million tons of grain in excess of the required amount, while the country?s corn surplus totaled 4 million tons. Németh is lobbying the EU to make storage facilities available to Hungarian farmers in other EU countries and compensate them for the Euro 20/ton additional transportation cost resulting from the fact that Hungary does not have seaports. The ministry has invited Hungarian grain merchants to participate in the export subsidy program, however, the additional transportation costs and unfavorable dollar/forint rates make the program unlikely to succeed. Of the combined 7-million-ton wheat and corn surplus, Hungarian farmers offered 3.6 million tons for intervention sales, nearly half of the EU total.