site.btaUPDATED Agriculture Minister Sees No Reason for Price Hike on Bread, Wheat, Sunflower
Agriculture Minister Yavor Gechev sees no reason for a price hike on bread, wheat or oil-bearing sunflower. Speaking on Bulgarian National Television's weekly political talk show "Panorama" on Friday evening, Gechev commented on the possible consequences of the Bulgarian ban on the import of Ukrainian grain.
Earlier in the week, the government in Sofia adopted a list of goods originating from Ukraine which are banned from entering this country between April 24 and June 30.
Gechev said Bulgaria has sufficient amounts of those market-sensitive crops and even has difficulty selling them.
"I will be the first to push for a restoration of the old trading regimes if prices begin to rise everywhere. No such conditions exist," he said. He added that his Ukrainian counterpart has assured him that Kyiv does not want to harm Bulgarian farmers.
Gechev expects the European Commission to propose a package of measures targeting four main crops: maize, wheat, sunflower and soybean, whose import from Ukraine could be banned until June 5. "In the meantime, if the market is unclogged, we can raise the barrier ourselves. We can fully comply with the EU decision and revoke our national decision. We have always said that the EU should be monolithic and there should be common decisions," the Minister said. He noted that anything can change until Tuesday, when EU agriculture ministers meet in Luxembourg.
Earlier on Saturday, Gechev met with President of the Oilseed Oil Producers Association, representatives of major companies in the sector and of cereal traders. During the meetings the development of the grain and sunflower market in Bulgaria and the EU was discussed. Discussions with the agricultural sector are expected to continue next week as well.
On April 25, Yavor Gechev will participate in the Council of Agriculture Ministers in the European Council. A discussion on the agricultural commodities market is also expected to take place during the meeting.