We fought for farmers to survive without having a negative impact on prices on the shelf. License regimes are very easily circumvented, says Radoslav Hristov in a special interview for “STANDARD”
– Are the farmers satisfied with the memorandum concluded with the government related to imports from Ukraine?
– Regarding the point concerning the regulation of sunflower imports from Ukraine, we know that it is somewhat difficult to find a common interest between Bulgarian and Ukrainian producers. In my opinion, for the moment it is a compromise option, until the regulation, which will concern the license regimes for the export of Ukrainian products, is cleared. That is why a deadline of November 30 has been written, until then the regulation should be clear – how from now on the European Union and Ukraine will do exchange trade in agricultural products. In the end, the European Commission realized that there is a real, real problem with what is happening with the unprecedented import of Ukrainian products, because we know very well that there are currently no market prices, there are military prices, which does not correspond to economic logic . All European, especially Bulgarian farmers, comply with very strict requirements in terms of production and our agricultural products have a much higher cost price than Ukrainian ones, there is no way this can be competitive. If it continues in the same way, within a year or two the Bulgarian grain production will end, not only of sunflower.
– Will the document help the successful sale of Bulgarian products?
– The term is too short and a compromise, I cannot be definite whether this would help the realization of the sunflower in our country, since there is currently a withdrawal from the market. In my opinion, this is completely biased and there is some synchronized action on their part, because it is not normal when a commodity has a shortage for delivery from outside, that it affects the market back, ie. to decrease, not increase. But here many people are speculating that the introduction of the ban is so that the price can be raised. The introduction of the ban is for the purpose of consumption of Bulgarian goods, not for the purpose of increasing or decreasing the price. I hope the market moves, ie. to have deals at prices that the oil market allows, because after all, sunflower is the raw material from which oil is produced. Regarding the prices, I hear comments: “but it’s a commodity, isn’t it?” This is not true, sunflower is not an exchange commodity, there is no way this is any price correction.
– Are prices expected to fall?
– No, I don’t think that the price should fall or rise, rather the Bulgarian raw material should be consumed, and then already when the licensing regime is regulated – I am pessimistic regarding its effect, since it can very easily be circumvented, just as the ban on sunflower imports has been circumvented so far. Very easy – the trader registers a Romanian company, for example, buys it from the Ukrainian one, sells it to the Bulgarian one, and he already becomes Romanian. This is a mechanism for circumventing regulations, and not only with sunflowers, but with all commodities. I think the same thing will happen with the licensing regime.
– Are you satisfied with the promised aid and compensation for the agricultural sector, which must be paid in a shortened time frame?
– Regarding these figures that are mentioned, there is little speculation in the media, because they are not for the grain production sector, they are for all the other sectors without ours. Since the colleagues have agreed to these amounts and to these terms and declared that they are satisfied, I can repeat their words.
– What will be the benefit for consumers from this agreement?
– I am more than convinced that for consumers there will be no changes regarding the shelves in the store. The question was whether the Bulgarian producers could survive without having a negative financial impact on the prices on the shelf.
– What else is expected to be done by the state to encourage Bulgarian farmers?
– What the state can do at the moment regarding trade with Ukraine is to find a balance between imports and Bulgarian production, so that there is neither a deficit nor an oversupply. When the market is moderate, then the prices are moderate. Otherwise, there is always an upward or downward bias.