FODDER PRICES UP, EFFECT OF THE DOMINOES COMES INTO VIEW
Prices of the most demanded mixed fodders went up by 8-12% on average in the first eight months of 2003. With the upward price trend the increase may reach 15-20% by the year-end. The most dynamic price changes are in Southeastern Bulgaria, data of the System for Agricultural Market Information (SAMI) show. In end-November most mixed fodders were selling at BGN550/ton on average. Within a week alone fodder prices went up drastically in Veliko Tirnovo - by 21% and in Blagoevgrad - by 14 per cent. The deficit of fodder wheat resulted in an increase of the price of bran, sold by mills. The commodity is already traded at BGN250-280/ton, up from BGN120-130/ton in the beginning of the year. The new, higher prices of fodders and bran will inevitably lead to a hike of all foods, produced from milk and meat. Therefore, market observers forecast a difficult winter. Farmers will face the dilemma of either raising the prices of milk and meat or shrinking their production. In that situation, processors will be also forced to limit the scope of their operation or resort to import of inputs. According to expectations, the prices of milk and dairy products on the domestic market will go up within a month, while meat and meat products will be probably hiked in February or March 2004. The way out of that situation, according to experts, is that the State releases and sells to the fodder manufacturers cheaper grain from the reserve and facilitates the import of some fodder components, such as soya groats, for example. About two or three years ago some 15,000-20,000 tons of American soya groats were sold in Bulgaria each autumn, and the money was earmarked for assisting various NGOs - branch unions, the American University of Blagoevgrad, etc. This year, however, this cannot be done as Bulgaria is no more considered a country that needs humanitarian aid.