Kosovo Wheat: Insufficient Supply Plus Low-Quality


Dec 15, 2022 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

Farmers estimate that about 50 percent of the Kosovo population’s Wheat needs are usually secured from the harvesting season but are unable to guarantee the exact amount and quality of this year’s harvest due to unfavorable climatic conditions and the increased price of plant protection products. Also, farmers warn of difficulties with Wheat supply from import due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and the blocking of the country’s exports by Russia.

The Ministry of Agriculture said that they expect the demands of the citizens to be met up to 70 percent. The needs of the population of Kosovo are about 400 thousand tons of Wheat per year. Kosovo, for years, does not fulfill them and depends to a large extent on imports. Serbia is the country from which it imports the most significant amount of Wheat and flour. In 2021, Kosovo imported 84 thousand tons of different types of Wheat and flour from Serbia – out of the 115 thousand tons it imported from other countries.

Isuf Cikaqi, Director of Forestry and Rural Development department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that based on preliminary data, the amount of Wheat production would be within the average of 3,500-4,000 kg per hectare of land. Around 70,000 hectares of Wheat are expected to be harvested this year.

In addition to the insufficient quantity, the Wheat in Kosovo, provided by this year’s harvest-threshing season, will not even have the excellent quality. Bashkim Zejnullahu, Chairman of the Kosovo Millers’ Association, says that the current quality of Wheat does not guarantee the processing of all flour products.

“It doesn’t lack much, but it won’t give enough quality to be processed. For bread processing, it probably won’t be a problem because, for bread, we constantly import Wheat as a quality enhancer. But, for some other food industries, it will be a problem”, added Zejnullahu.

He mentions cookies, pastries, and pie crusts can suffer from poorer Wheat quality. “Wheat, this year, does not have a ‘heart’; it does not have that nutritious part,” notes Pal Gjuraj from the Association of Wheat Producers of Kosovo. The barometer for grain quality is the hectoliter weight. The higher the hectoliter weight in Wheat, the greater the amount of dry matter and flour yield.

Under normal conditions, this value should be above 75 in a kilogram of Wheat. This value is determined by a particular scale, which every flour factory has. “The weight of a hectoliter this year is up to 75, while last year it was up to 82”, Musa Gashi, Owner of the “Grunori” flour factory in Skenderaj, noted.

Kosovo’s Wheat Fertilizer Issue

Imer Rusinovci, Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Pristina, confirms that this year’s Wheat crop does not have the standard parameters. According to representatives of farmers and millers, the factors that have influenced the poorer quality of Wheat are unfavorable climatic conditions and improper fertilization due to the increase in the price of artificial fertilizer.

Wheat must be fertilized twice. This year, 100 kilograms of artificial fertilizer have reached 100 euros, compared to last year when they cost 32 euros. Up to 300 kilograms of fertilizer are needed for one hectare of land. According to the Ministry of Agriculture in Kosovo, namely the Program for direct payments 2021, for one hectare of surface cultivated with Wheat, farmers in Kosovo were subsidized with 75 euros.

In the framework of the Direct payments program for 2022, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Rural Development of Kosovo, Faton Peci, pledged to subsidize farmers for the autumn planting of the Wheat crop. This year’s subsidies amount to 474 euros per hectare, including expenses for fertilizer and oil.

Other sources: IMALBANIA

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