BUCHAREST, ROMANIA — Romania has harvested 9 million tonnes of wheat in 2022, down from a record 11.3 million tonnes in 2021 but still enough for domestic demand while providing a surplus for exports, according to the agriculture ministry, Reuters reported.

High temperatures and prolonged drought have hit crops hard this year, and preliminary ministry data on Aug. 24 showed damage to 420,380 hectares, out of about 7 million hectares of grain and oil-producing crops.

Agriculture Minister Petre Daea said earlier in August that the harvest would be up to 18% smaller but still ensure an excess for export. Domestic consumption regularly ranges from 2.5 million to 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.

The ministry also said the sunflower and maize (corn) harvest currently is underway in 20 counties.

In its August World Agricultural Production Report, the US Department of Agriculture projected Romania’s sunflower production in marketing year 2022-23 at 2.7 million tonnes, down 3% from last year, and corn at 10 million tonnes, down 27% from last year.