By FWi Staff

THE UK is expected to be in the market for approaching 200,000 tonnes of British wheat to Italy starting in November, announced the Home-Grown Cereals Authority yesterday (Tuesday).

Italian millers and traders at the corn exchange in Milan, Turin and Bologna told last weeks British Cereals Exports delegation that their own soft wheat harvest was up about 13.5% on 1997.

A number of the Italian buyers have pushed for grain to be supplied by rail, said BCE delegation leader and Lincolnshire farmer Stewart Brown. “I understand UK traders are investigating the feasibility and cost of delivery by rail but there are some considerable obstacles to overcome.”

Mr Brown was encouraged to meet Italian buyers who were interested in the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme. On the Portuguese mission last year there had been little interest in assurance. Some Italian buyers also asked if the pesticide passport system could be extended to exports.

“We identified other areas in which the UK can potentially improve its service or information to Italian buyers,” said BCE manager Mary Thompson.

“The Italians often prefer to buy month by month, rather than for six months ahead. Myco-toxins are a big issue in Italy with additional regulation on the cards, and the Italians were concerned that grain which has been dried was more at risk to this problem.”

“The UK has responded to continental millers demands for Chopin Alveograph test results in addition to the standard UK grain tests,” said Ms Thompson.