1 March 1996

Portuguese wheat call

PORTUGUESE millers want more UK wheat, Jose Aguiar, secretary general of the Portuguese Flour Millers Association, told delegates at a BCE meeting in Kings Lynn.

Despite earlier problems with UK Class 1 wheats, he believes growers can meet his countrys needs. French medium quality wheats account for most imports but tend to be "very irregular".

"British millers make less detailed tests than ours so I know they trust your supplies. And we found this years UK biscuit wheat imports very good. By offering regularity and stability you could oust your competitors."

Imports are set to climb, he added. The countrys 28 mills use 1m tonnes of wheat to satisfy home demand, but only run at 60% capacity.

A drive to supply former African colonies with a range of wheat products is underway. But Portugals lack of land, average yields of just 2t/ha (0.8t/acre) and less suitable varieties limit domestic wheats to 60% of the grist, says Mr Aguiar.