Large part of Estonian cereals harvest exported to Africa

Harvesting grain.
Harvesting grain. Source: (Mirjam Nutov/ERR)

Indrek Aigro, head of cereals trade at Copenhagen Merchants, forecasts over a million tons of Estonia's cereals, rape seed and legumes harvest will be exported this year.

Margus Ameerikas, head of development for Baltic Agro, told ERR that it was a relatively favorable year for plant production and the total harvest could reach the long-awaited 2 million tons.

Last year's cereals harvest came to 1.28 million tons, rape seed and colza harvest to 215,000 tons, legumes to 79,000 tons and potatoes to 71,000 tons.

Indrek Aigro, head of cereals trade at Copenhagen Merchants, said that it is clear Estonia's crops export will break the all-time record in terms of financial volume this year.

Last year, cereals exports fetched €171 million, down €35 million from the year before.

Aigro said that wheat has traditionally been the number one export article, followed by barley.

"Estonian wheat exports will go toward human food rather than animal feed this year. The quality of wheat is good enough. Most of our grain exports will go to Africa. We can see Nigeria dominating, but Mauritania, Senegal and Angola are also there. Estonian barley will go to north Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) or Saudi Arabia," Aigro said.

Last year, 433,000 tons of wheat was exported for €106 million and 218,000 tons of barley worth €47 million.

The world market price of wheat exploded when Russia launched its full-scale war of aggression in Ukraine. The price has come down since then but remains roughly 25 percent above last year's.

Margus Ameerikas added that export has only just begun. Larger quantities will be loaded onto ships in October and November, while some will be moved in winter and even spring.

"Producing close to two million tons and considering our own use is 0.6 million tons, we can export 1.4 million tons. Export is driving agriculture very nicely right now. We used to grow barley to feed our pigs and cows for decades. But as the focus has shifted onto exports, it is clear wheat fetches a better price. The price is higher and demand greater," Ameerikas said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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