There is no shortage of grain and no problem is observed as regards reserves and prices of grain in Cyprus, an official of the Ministry of Agriculture (Cyprus- South) told CNA.
Asked about the possible fallout, agriculture ministry official Constantis Spanashis said that the island imports more than 85 per cent of barley for animal feed. Meanwhile Cyprus is entirely reliant on imports of corn, soybeans and other derivatives.
Regarding grains for human consumption, Spanashis noted that “things are a little better, as up to 30 per cent [of demand] can be covered by local production, especially durum wheat.”
On whether Cyprus has been affected by Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal, the official commented that the development caused some “market disruption.”
He added: “We will not have a significant disruption here, beyond the small price increase recorded.”
The official said he did not expect further price hikes, due to the fact that alternative export routes to the European continent have kicked in.
“There are also some ports in Ukraine which continue to export. Unless something else happens, like last week when attacks occurred on grain silos, I’m hopeful that we won’t have the turbulence we saw with the start of the [Russian] invasion.”
According to Spanashis, grain prices jumped by 5 to 10 per cent soon after Russia walked out of the Black Sea agreement.
That said, he pointed out that no new grain shipments have arrived in Cyprus since then. The first shipments after the lapse of the deal will be arriving soon.
“I think that for the time being we have no indication that would cause us to panic, no indication of shortages. We also have some reserves, purchased last year as soon as the crisis broke out. The state ensured that we had some reserves lasting up to a month. But personally, I don’t believe we’ll need to tap into those reserves.”
For his part, head of the wheat producers association Kyriacos Kailas said the Black Sea deal had benefited both livestock farming and the economy in general.
But, he added, local grain producers took a financial hit because they had sowed at a higher cost and harvested when prices had gone down.
He, likewise, did not expect new price increases in products like milk, eggs, meat, flour and bread.
General secretary of the Union of Cypriot Farmers (EKA) Panicos Hambas was far less sanguine.
He said that if the war in Ukraine drags on, and Cyprus suffers another drought, the government should make plans to import hay to ensure that animals keep producing enough milk for halloumi cheese.
“Cyprus is affected by climate change. This year we had a drought. The predictions are that if next year we don’t get enough rainfall, Cyprus will have to import many tonnes of animal feed and hay, so that we can maintain the production of milk needed to make halloumi.”
( Source CNA/ Cyprus Mail)