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Terre-net
  Editorial  
 

Lithuania plays in the big league



Frédéric Hénin, Editor in Chief, Terre-net


Article published in Terre-net Média



As a “genuine economic driver for the Baltic States”, Lithuania has already shipped over 871,000 tons of soft wheat to third countries this year, including 387,000 tons to Saudi Arabian and 302,000 ton to Iran. The country ranks fourth behind France, Romania and Germany in terms of EU exports.

Joining the European Union and the CAP are beneficial to all new agricultural member-states, which were economically hindered by 40 years of communism. To the south, this concerns Bulgaria and Romania, and to the north Latvia and Lithuania, which both regained their pre-war splendor after they were annexed by the Soviet Union. All these nations are noteworthy for their high ratio of agricultural labor force working in small farms.

A sectorial report published by FranceAgriMer on February 12, principally highlights Lithuania’s grain boom, and to a lesser extent that of Latvia, which is more devoted to livestock farming. Becoming independent again in 1991 after having been annexed by the Soviet Union, Lithuania now plays in the big league.


FOURTH LARGEST EU EXPORTER

As a “genuine driver for the Baltic States”, Lithuania has already shipped over 871,000 tons of soft wheat to third countries, with 387,000 tons to Saudi Arabian and 302,000 tons to Iran. The country ranks fourth in terms of EU exports, behind France, Romania and Germany.

In 2013, Lithuania exported 1.6 million tons of soft wheat, while the ten-year average was 392,000 tons, excluding the exceptional 2012-13 crop. The record crop in 2012––in line with the rising trend since production more than doubled in 10 years––is the main reason for the 2012-13 export achievement.

Lithuania’s destinations of exports have changed. While historically oriented towards the Soviet and European countries––Latvia, Belarus and Spain–– the country now exports large quantities to Middle-Eastern countries, especially Iran (1.2 million tons in 2012-13) and Saudi Arabia (an average of 200,000 tons over the past four years), thus becoming a direct competitor to Germany, thanks to its wheat with a protein content regularly exceeding 12.5 percent.

After the first five months of the 2013-14 campaign, the Eastern European belt––Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria––accounts for 46 percent of soft wheat exports from the EU, against 32 percent last year.

This success is largely due to the Romania/Bulgaria tandem, but since the 2012-13 crop, “a new trend emanating from the Baltic nations seems to appear” writes FranceAgriMer.

At the level of the 28 member-states, “soft wheat exports from the EU towards third countries amount to 11.2 million tons between July 1 and November 30, 2013, a more than 50 percent increase over the same period in 2012. This growth in export volumes is also well founded when compared with the average of the same period during the past five years (8.3 million tons between 2008 and 2012).


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Paris, 11 December 2018