Thursday, 25 January 2018

This week's Black Sea agribusiness news in brief

Snowfall across much of Russia and Ukraine’s crop growing region alleviated fears of damage to crops; there is still a chunk of winter to go but forecasts through next week show temperatures to be fine and as each week goes by the risk level diminishes.

The next thing to turn our attention to will be what might advanced crop development seen through the end of last year and early January mean to crop development come the spring? 

I now see the issue to be if Black Sea farmers will adjust agronomy programmes to take into account advanced crop (and weed) development?  Probably not.

Argentine's Minister of Agriculture met his Russian counterpart this week and reported the country has a sown 38 million hectares, of which only 65% ​​uses fertilisers and therefore he's interested in importing Russian fertiliser.

Russia's Minister of Agriculture responded by saying there is potential for increasing trade between the two countries and "We are ready to increase the export of Russian agricultural products to the Argentine market and meet other import requirements of Argentina".

Elsewhere and a new pork and poultry manufacturing hub, oriented towards exports to Asia, will soon be established in the Russian Far East according to Rusagro Group of Companies.

Russia’s 2017 milk production is up 3.5% on 2016 at 17.86 million tons, which supplies 82% of the total domestic demand, the balance coming from imports.

Russia’ Ministry of Agriculture reported that, as of January 17, exports of grain crops (excluding millet), amounted to about 28.9 million tons, 36% higher than the same date last year (21.2 million tons).  Wheat exports increased by a third, to 22.6 million tons (+ 35%) and barley exports to about 3.6 million tons, (+50%).

In Ukraine the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) agreed a $50 million loan to Ukraine grain business, Nibulon LLC for expansion and modernization of their grain logistics during 2018-19.

While in the same week, Delta Wilmar CIS reported they have pulled an investment plan for the construction of a $150 million plant in the port of Yuzhny, Ukraine, because of the actions of an organisation that extorted money from the company.

Over in France and the French wheat growers’ group AGPB said French farmers need to slash costs if they want to stop selling at a loss and regain market share lost to Black Sea.

"For 20 years, we have never seen such a worrying financial situation for French grain farms," explains Philippe Pinta, President of AGPB, "55% of grain farms are losing the money following a catastrophic national harvest in 2016".