Farmers: We Have to Sell Grain Twice as Cheap as in Romania

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The Farmers’ Force Association expressed concern about the situation on the grain market, which "is becoming difficult for farmers. The Association made this statement on Friday, saying that “despite the high world prices of wheat and barley, Moldovan farmers are forced to sell them almost twice as cheap as in Romania,” reported. According to it, the Trans Oil Group, which dominates the port position in the export of grains and oilseeds and controls most of the elevators, offers “a ridiculous price for barley, which is below its production cost,” in the face of cheap supply from Ukrainian farmers. “This is a blow to farmers who are active in the harsh conditions of exorbitant increases in diesel fuel prices and drought. It is very likely that thousands of small and medium-sized farmers can be expected to go bankrupt, causing mass migration from the countryside and the destruction of villages,” noted the Association. It called for “a meeting under the auspices of the prime minister with parliamentarians, ministers of agriculture and food and finance, as well as the Competition Council, to develop measures to support farmers in marketing their products”. The farmers’ demands include “identifying Trans Oil’s dominant position with regard to agri-food exports through the port of Giurgiulesti and promptly investigating whether the recently announced low purchase prices are an abuse of this position; priority in exports through the port of Giurgiulesti and via the Moldovan railroad of agricultural products; promptly establishing, with the help of external partners, the AIPA intervention fund to purchase from domestic agricultural producers at least 150 thousand tons of wheat at prices that will ensure a 20% profitability for farmers.” The Trans Oil Group responded to the Farmers’ Force Association’s statements. “The Farmers’ Force Association’s statements are completely biased and designed to manipulate public opinion. Yes, the country’s agricultural sector has faced many challenges and risks that, unfortunately, have already materialized: drought, logistical collapse due to transit of Ukrainian goods, and huge increases in fuel, seed and fertilizer prices. However, comparing today’s prices for barley in the Republic of Moldova and Romania indicates either incompetence or malice. When comparing prices in these two markets it is worth considering the logistical leg Moldovan producers and traders need to overcome today. Delivery of one ton of grain from Moldova to the ports in the Romanian Constanta (the only export corridor at the moment) today costs about 100 euros per ton, compared to 13 euros last year. Also, tariffs for transshipment of grain in Constanta terminals have doubled, from 12-13 euro to 23-24 euro per ton. This negatively affects all market participants, and Trans Oil Group suffers here as well as everyone else,” reads the statement. The Trans Oil Group representatives stressed that the accusations of dominance “are absolutely groundless and have already been dispelled earlier, including in an interview with Head of the Moldovan Competition Council Alexei Ghertescu.” “The Trans Oil Group is in the lead with 35% of the grain market in the last marketing year, which by any measure can hardly be called a dominant position. The following two traders collectively provide a larger volume of grain exports than the Trans Oil Group. Also, the Group provided open access to its grain terminals to third-party Moldovan exporters, understanding the gravity of the situation. It should be taken into account that 95% of storage capacities in the Republic of Moldova as well as transshipment capacities in Giurgiulesti port are allocated for grains of domestic origin. The share of Ukrainian grain will not exceed 5%. The accusations made by the Farmers’ Force Association have the sole purpose of creating political capital by manipulating public opinion, and for some reason at the expense of the Trans Oil Group,” Trans Oil said. Point