Romania suspends export of wheat, flour and oil to ensure food during COVID-19 lockdown

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Romania has suspended the export of wheat and other basic foodstuffs outside the European Union.

Flour, oil and sugar are also included in the ban that will last until mid-May. It’s the latest measure taken during the state of emergency that was imposed last month to help authorities fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

Wheat, barley, oat, maize, rice, wheat flour, soybean, sunflower, seed oil, sugar, and some pastry products are subject to the ban.

Agriculture Minister Adrian Oros said that Romania exported 800,000 tons of cereals in March, about 300,000 tons more than in March 2019, depleting reserves.

Romania consumes about 170,000 tons a month he told Agerpres news agency.  He said Romania has enough reserves until the next harvest in July which will be poor due to the drought.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said Thursday that Romania was not facing food shortages, but cautioned the harvest would be poor this year due to an extended drought.

Romania will allow grain to be sold within EU, but will require documents to show that it won’t be exported outside the bloc, the government said.

The new measures were announced late Thursday.

Other related measures allow beekeepers and people with a commercial fishing license to continue their activity during the lockdown, authorities said.

The government says that farmers’ markets can remain open during the state of emergency, on the condition that farmers have certificates allowing them to sell their products in these markets.

They also have to respect the measures imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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