October 5, 2007


Hungary starts corn imports from Argentina due to severe drought



Hungarian livestock firms have started buying corn from Argentina and Ukraine as they found local prices too high due to a severe drought, livestock farmers said on Thursday (October 4).


A group of a half dozen pig breeders in southwest Hungary on Wednesday ordered 25,000 tonnes of Argentine corn at 48,000 forints (US$270.9) per tonne including freight to the Hungarian border, the head of the Hungarian Pig Breeders Association told daily Nepszabadsag.


The price compares to about 60,000 forints per tonne asked in Hungary, where the corn output is expected to fall below 4 million tonnes from over 8 million a year ago.


Meanwhile, poultry firm Baromfi Coop, owned by Laszlo Barany, the head of the Poultry Product Council, bought 30,000 tonnes of corn from Ukraine, Barany said.


Ukraine, which itself suffered its worst drought in half a century, has imposed quotas on grain exports, but Barany said the company had obtained the necessary permits.


He said he might buy more from Ukraine if the quotas allow.


Hungarian poultry breeders, who use 1.1 million tonnes of corn per year, are willing to offer at most EUR 205-210 per tonne (US$296.6), Barany said.


As feed prices have doubled this year, retail poultry prices have also risen by 18 percent and another 6-9 percent rise is expected in October, he said.


Hungary has some grain left in its EU intervention stores from previous seasons which the government has started buying back.


The government views overseas imports as a risk as genetically modified (GMO) crops could get into shipments.

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