A Stable Grain Exporter, Despite Thin North-Country Yields and Market Volatility

Winter wheat Photo: Pärnu Postimees / Scanpix
3/28/2012 9:37 AM
Category: Economy

Estonia has become a stable net grain exporter, but the Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce said the country will need more business acumen and agronomic know-how to successfully negotiate volatile world prices.

The Grain Forum held this year by the body in Paide on March 28, provides a good benchmark for taking stock of the year.

World prices happen to be nearly the same level as during last year's Forum. But May 2011 saw a sharp increase to over 250 euros a ton, followed by a drop of a third.

In 2011, grain was grown on 297,200 hectares, which is 21,900 hectares more than in 2010, an 8 percent increase.

Grain amounted to 771,900 tons, which is 14 percent more than in 2010 - that summer had an exceptionally long hot and dry period.

Estonia still has one of the lowest average yields in the EU, yet more progressive companies are known to harvest at EU average levels, the Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce said.

The fact that Estonia is self-sufficient in grain is especially important from the aspect of supplying the animal farming sector.

"But we need more knowledge of the international grain trade so that we could sell our harvest at as favorable terms as possible," said Mati Koppel, chairman of the Chamber's grain committee.

Kristopher Rikken

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