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Dec 23, 2009 17:24 EEST
CHISINAU (Moldova), December 23 (SeeNews) – Moldova, traditionally a sugar exporter, will need to import some 20,000 tonnes of sugar to cover internal consumption as domestic output dropped to one third this year due to severe drought in the summer, an industry official said on Wednesday.
The country's sugar output fell to 45,000 tonnes this year from more than 136,000 tonnes in 2008, the director of Moldova's association of sugar producers, Alexander Koss, told SeeNews.
You can download the 2023 Agriculture industry in Southeast Europe report here
"We had a devastating drought this summer, which cut drastically the country’s sugar beet harvest," Koss said.
High temperatures, reaching up to 39 degrees Celsius, coupled with lack of rain in the summer and spring, hit Moldova’s agriculture hard. The country’s wheat harvest fell to 770,000 tonnes this year from 1.3 million tonnes cropped in 2008, according to data from Moldova's Farm Ministry.
"We have already bought 6,500 tonnes of sugar from Belarus and will also import some 13,000 tonnes from the European Union this and next year, to cover sugar shortage," Koss said, adding that Moldova’s annual sugar demand stands at around 65,000 tonnes.
Moldova cropped some 320,000 tonnes of sugar beet this year from 21,500 hectares, Koss said. Last year, the country harvested 965,218 tonnes of sugar beet from 22,036 hectares.
Currently, three sugar producers operate in Moldova: the local unit of Europe's largest sugar producer, Germany's Suedzucker AG, and local companies Gold Crown and MagdVest.
Suedzucker Moldova has three sugar factories, two of which are operational. Gold Crown and MagdVest have one factory each. All factories are located in the northern part of the country.
Moldova’s farm sector is the backbone of the country’s economy, generating 19% of the country's gross domestic product.
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