European Union entry by Bulgaria and Romania may turn the 27-nation bloc into an exporter of corn and sunflower seeds from an importer, according to Rabobank Groep, the world's biggest agricultural lender.
The Eastern European countries, which joined the EU this year, „have the potential to produce considerable export surpluses in the near future,” analysts including Andy Duff at the Utrecht, Netherlands-based bank said in an e-mailed report on January 30. „These surpluses are sufficient to provide for the import demand of all other countries of the EU combined.” Half of all farmland in Romania and Bulgaria is used to grow oilseeds and cereals, such as corn, the bank said. „A potentially very large and growing exportable surplus of grains” from the new EU-countries will be able to enter the bloc without being subject to import duty, Rabobank said. The two nations account for 42% of all EU land allotted for producing sunflower seeds and 45% of land used to grow corn. Romania and Bulgaria together produced 11.8 million metric tons of corn last year, almost a quarter of the EU's total output. The European Union imported 3.3 million tons of corn and 0.4 million tons of sunflower seeds last year, the bank said, citing statistics from the US Department of Agriculture. (Bloomberg)