GRAIN TO BE IMPORTED IN SEPTEMBER
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is discussing possibilities for the import of good-quality milling wheat as of September 2003, an insider told the BANKER weekly. About 100,000 t of first-quality wheat is to be imported for improving the quality of Bulgarian grain, used in bread-making. It's not yet known who the importer would be and how the import would be financed. The import could be effected through the State Reserve Agency after a tender. The other discussed possibility is to import the milling wheat through the Intervention Agency, which should begin operations by the autumn and guarantee the regulation of the domestic grain market. The import will be necessitated due to the Agriculture Ministry experts' forecasts that the bulk of the gathered Bulgarian wheat would be of poor bread-making quality.The first selling offers for milling grain from the new crop will be placed in about a month. Indeed, during the week grain producers from the region of Veliko Tirnovo demanded BGN250/t of wheat and BGN200/t of barley, but the head of the Sofia Commodity Exchange Hristo Milenkov projected that the purchase campaign would start at BGN180/t. The forecast of Ivan Ivanov, head of the Rousse Commodity Exchange is similar. In his words, the real price of the 2003 wheat crop will be BGN160-170/t, up BGN30-40/t from last year when trade started at the level of BGN130/t. However, the 2002 wheat crop was almost 4 million tons, while 2.5 million tons at the most are expected to be gathered this summer. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry officially stated there would be sufficient grain and its price would be close to the average in 2002/2003 - BGN160-170/t.