Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Mid-week Black Sea agri-news

Despite caution for new grain export contracts between Russia and Turkey, both sides made a
statement that they do not intend to limit grain trade report UkrAgroConsult.

Accordingly two bulk carriers passed through the port of Novorossiysk to Turkey with 33kmt of wheat and 4.9kmt of corn.

UkrAgroConsult also report that the abolishment of grain export duties in Argentina will lead to rise in domestic prices and an increase in grain production with corn plantings already up 10% this year.

More corn and wheat coming on to the world market will tighten competition between exporters, challenging Ukraine as a major exporter and put additional pressure on prices.

Perhaps recognising this (and other related issues) Ukraine continues to drum up markets for its agricultural output, this time meeting with Albania counterparts to discuss cooperation and trade in particular sunflower oil and dairy products.

Russia ministry of agriculture report this year’s harvest at 103.4mmt of grain net weight, exceeding previous forecasts.  

The ministry further forecast H16 to be even higher at 104mmt, naturally.  

However they do make one small concession to current winter crop issues by suggesting H16 wheat harvest could be 60.4mmt, down on this year’s 61.2mmt.

To assist their inexorable climb in output the ministry might listen to the chairman of the peasant farms of Irkutsk who brilliantly and with clarity outlined how the government should help farmers.  

His recommendations included reducing the cost of energy, fuel, lubricants, fertilisers, pesticides and increasing prices while providing financing and loans at low interest rates.  Good luck with that.

A round table discussion held this week agreed that the all-Russian agricultural census in 2016 will reveal promising growth of the domestic agricultural sector and provide material to develop a strategy to overcome the existing problems in the industry.

Participants included representatives from the Federal State Statistics Service and the Department of Agribusiness, heads of municipalities, rural communities, local farms and industry experts.

One participant was reported as saying that "the issue is not as such of food security, but a problem of management related to the lack of accurate data on the current situation… the 2016 census should give us the material to develop strategies to overcome them".

The all-Russian agricultural census will be held during July and August with remote and inaccessible areas completing it during September and November.

Finally, Kazakhstan made headlines this week as British astronaut Tim Peake successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to the International Space Station prompting the Telegraph to publish a “19 peculiar things you probably didn't know about the Central Asian republic” article.

The list started off meaning well with interesting peculiar things like Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country yet maintains a small navy and it is believed that the apple originated there, only to revert to type saying that Kazakhstan is the birthplace of Sacha Baron Cohen's fictional character, Borat.  

I despair.