Bulgarian government set to buy grains and oilseed to boost state reserves

Bulgarian government set to buy grains and oilseed to boost state reserves

The Bulgarian government is set to start purchasing grains and oilseed from local growers within the next ten days, as part of its plan to boost state reserves amidst the war in Ukraine, deputy agriculture minister Ivan Hristanov said on Monday.

Despite the delay in the process, the purchasing mechanism has been clarified and the state will buy 700,000 tonnes of milling wheat and between 325,000 and 350,000 sunflower seed to guarantee the country's food security, Hristanov told public television BNT.

The prices have been set at a maximum of 570 levs per tonne for milling wheat and 1,400 levs per tonne for sunflower seed, with starting prices on the local commodity exchange expected to be about 20% lower, Hristanov added.

In March, the Bulgarian government earmarked 1.1 billion levs ($620.4 million/562.4 million euro) to purchase grains from local producers at market prices on the Sofia Commodity Exchange, with the aim of guaranteeing the country's food security, as the war in Ukraine -- one of the world's top grain producers, has led to concerns over the availability of grain supplies and rising commodity prices.

At present, the ministry is awaiting the transfer of funds from the state budget, to be followed by certain required legal procedures, before launching the purchases.

The transactions cannot be carried out by a single state-owned company, so the process will involve the agricultural ministry's own directorates, the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency and various state agricultural agencies. The state will initiate a separate procedure to guarantee the storage of the grains, with sufficient warehouses being available throughout the country and the process for hiring them being near completion, Hristanov added.

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