Bulgaria’s agriculture ministry has proposed the introduction of draft quotas for some Ukrainian imports, including sunflowerseed and sunflower oil, AgriCensus wrote.

However, it was unclear how the quotas would work and when they would come into force, the 11 December report said.

Meanwhile, many Ukrainian sunflower sellers are still waiting for the correct documentation to export, according to the report.

In a notice published by the official Bulgarian media resource, the ministry had extended the list of agricultural goods and food products that could be imported, AgriCensus wrote.

In addition to wheat, sunflowerseed, rapeseed and corn, refined and unrefined sunflower oil, white sugar, powdered milk, honey and frozen raspberries would all fall under the import licence regime that had been in place since the beginning of December, after passing all the approval procedures, the report said.

At the time of the report, the ministry was discussing quotas of 923,033 tonnes for sunflowerseed, 79,500 tonnes for sunflower oil and 11,711 tonnes for refined sunflower oil.

According to the official document, the volume of the quota was set based on the 2023 harvest, carryover stocks from 2022, consumption and crash volumes and other factors.

Market sources did not expect the quotas to be approved soon, with the ministry due to meet with Bulgarian associations to discuss the matter, after which a draft would need to be presented to the European Parliament in Brussels, AgriCensus wrote.

Against this backdrop, market sources had reported that some Bulgarian crushing companies had tried to import sunflowerseed from Ukraine but faced defaults as delivery deadlines were constantly being postponed as Ukrainian sellers lacked the necessary documentation.

According to the European Commission’s latest monthly update, Bulgaria’s 2023/24 sunflower harvest dropped by 23% compared to the previous season to 1.62M tonnes.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is expected to produce more soyabeans and less rapeseed in the current year’s harvest compared to the previous year, according to latest estimates by Ukrainian authorities and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Rapeseed prices were below the previous year’s level, with expectations of an increase being low, according to a report by Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP).

In addition, lack of rainfall had held back plantings, the 15 December report said.

However, the outlook for sunflowerseed production was brighter, according to research by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft.

Soyabeans and sunflowers were expected to be more profitable than rapeseed due to lower input costs – particularly for soyabeans.