Italy will not have issues with corn, wheat supplies in short term – minister

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ROME, April 1 (Reuters) – Italy will not have supply issues in the short-term regarding agricultural raw materials such as corn and wheat, the country’s agriculture minister said on Friday.

“I have no doubt that we will be able to find these raw materials. It is true that we import (corn and wheat) from the Ukrainian and Russian markets, but in percentages that can be easily replaced,” said Stefano Patuanelli, interviewed on Canale 5 television.

Italy’s Ecology Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said in a statement on Thursday that the Italian government is in contact with its European partners to give a firm response to Russia after a decree introduced by Moscow requiring European importers to pay roubles for Russian gas.

“The prime minister will speak to German Chancellor [Olaf]Scholz this evening and bilateral talks are under way between energy ministers”.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday requiring foreign buyers to pay roubles for Russian gas from April 1 or see their contracts halted, a move described as “blackmail” by European states.

Cingolani said Italy’s current gas reserve levels would allow economic activity in the country to continue “even in the case of sudden and unlikely disruptions to Russian supplies.”

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