Bulgarian sunflower seeds: money is being "quietly eaten"

December 29, 2021 2:00 PM, Der AUDITOR
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SEEHEIM/SOFIA. The AUDITOR's editorial team spoke to a number of different commodity trading experts. For today's interview, Ivelin Brachev, sunflower seed expert at BRACHEV LTD, Gabrovo/Bulgaria, answered our questions. He reports on the adversities and hurdles faced by the Bulgarian sunflower seed market this year, but also about his positive experiences and his expectations for the coming year 2022.

What issues were the most difficult ones for the Bulgarian sunflower seed market to face in 2021? Were they mainly related to the lingering threat of the worldwide pandemic or do you think they would also have occurred in a more normal year?

Market instability for the second year in a row is causing most of the problems, but the coronavirus pandemic is closely linked to this instability and is making the situation worse. We believe that we are experiencing a global economic crisis that is literally causing problems everywhere and will have catastrophic consequences of unprecedented proportions.

In most markets, prices for feed and food commodities went up significantly over the course of the past year. Sunflower seeds are no exception to that. Do you think buyers will have to adjust to these higher levels in the long run or do you expect prices to decrease again?

The worldwide inflation has unprecedented rates and literally affects everything. We are not optimistic – if there is a downward price trend, it will be temporary. In the long run the prices will go upwards and the leading governments in the world will be printing money out of nothing in order to cover the enormous financial deficits. Everyone will have to adjust to the new price levels but the problem is that this process cannot be stopped and the situation will be getting worse.

Did the demand situation change compared to 2020 and 2019? Do you think some buyers and processors had to readjust their needs?

For sure the demand has changed but the supply has changed too and it seems that the companies prefer to have goods instead of money that is being “quietly eaten" by the high inflation. 

Logistical issues like high freight costs, a lack of containers and truck drivers as well as closed ports were problems faced by the food and feed commodity market. Is there a lesson to be learned from that going into 2022?

The transportation is getting more and more expensive – it cannot be an exception when all prices are going upwards! There is a shortage of empty containers and as a result some of the container loads turned into truckloads thus creating higher demand for trucks which are not able to handle the increased demand. The higher prices will probably limit the demand to some extend but the shortages will continue to exist and our transportation partners believe that situation will get worse.

Additionally, climate change and crop concerns are real and pose a threat to all kinds of food and feed commodities around the world and will most likely continue to do so. How would this affect the sunflower seed market in the future and what could companies in this industry do to improve this situation?

Yes, the climate is changing and is challenging mostly the farmers who are looking for new varieties that are able to resist and endure the climate changes. It is not clear what exactly will happen but there are certain varieties that are slowly disappearing as less and less farmers are willing to grow them.

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