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Romania's wheat crop down at 9 mln tonnes, ministry says

BUCHAREST, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Romania has reaped 9 million tonnes of wheat this year, the agriculture ministry said, as weather and higher production costs caused crops to fall by roughly a fifth from last year.

The European Union nation's grain crop stood at a record in 2021, including 11.3 million tonnes of wheat.

This month, Agriculture Minister Petre Daea said the harvest would be up to 18% smaller on the year but still ensure a surplus for exports.

Domestic consumption regularly ranges from 2.5 million to about 3 million tonnes. Romania has been among the largest grain sellers in the EU and is an active exporter to the Middle East, with Egypt the main buyer.

It sends exports through its Black Sea port of Constanta, which Ukraine has been using as an alternative route in the six months following Russia's invasion.

The ministry also said farmers were currently reaping sunflower and maize in twenty counties.

High temperatures and prolonged drought have hit crops and preliminary ministry data on Wednesday showed damage to 420,380 hectares, out of about 7 million hectares of grain and oil-producing crops. (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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