russia raises grain export forecast
Last Updated : GMT 10:22:19
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Russia raises grain export forecast

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Russia raises grain export forecast

Moscow - AFP

Russia raised on Monday its 2011 grain export forecast to 20 million tonnes after a year-long absence from global markets which was a factor in a rise in world food prices last year. \"We have to reconquer our export positions on the global market this year,\" ITAR-TASS quoted Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik as saying. She revised up a previous forecast of 18 million tonnes and added that Russia\'s export deliveries were 10 to 20 percent cheaper than grain being sold on the world market now. The world\'s third-biggest world grain supplier resumed exports on July 1 after imposing a ban in August 2010 in the middle of an unprecedented drought that wiped out harvests in more than 20 regions forcing Russia to cut grain production by about a third. Analysts said Russia\'s export ban helped contribute to a sharp rise in food prices last year that was one of the factors behind the wave of Arab uprisings. The decision to reintroduce exports this year -- seen as imperative to Russia\'s ability to win back historic markets such as Egypt -- had been delayed by fears over European financial jitters and high-interest local bank loans. But Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the end of May instructed his government to provide discount loans to farmers and ensure that enough land is harvested this year. Russian officials now expect the grain production figure to return to about 90 million tonnes this year -- a return to the level seen in 2009. President Dmitry Medvedev however expressed some frustration with the amount of state aid awarded to the sector since last year and urged farmers to work in a \"civilised\" manner by taking on required levels of insurance. He also appeared to reject the idea of mandatory agricultural insurance purchases. \"Farmers will not have to be forced into buying insurance if the rates are affordable and the underwriters\' guarantees are reliable and safe,\" ITAR-TASS quoted Medvedev as saying.

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