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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kiev to Import 700,000 Tons of Grain

KIEV -- Ukraine may increase its grain imports to 700,000 metric tons this year compared with 30,000 tons in 1999, a senior agriculture official said Wednesday.

Petro Sheyko, deputy agriculture minister, said the imports would help the government to provide Ukraine's 50 million people with enough bread after last year's disastrous grain crop of 24.4 million tons. Farms harvested 26.5 million tons of grain in 1998.

Earlier, the government said it would allow imports of 1.5 million tons of grain duty free this year.

Late last year it allowed imports of another 200,000 tons of grain from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to replenish scarce grain stocks in Ukraine's western regions.

Traders say Ukraine has enough bread-making grain to cover internal needs, but heads of some regions are reluctant to ship grain to neighboring areas already suffering from grain shortages.

Agricultural officials say bad weather was the main reason for a poor crop last season. Analysts argue that a lack of market reforms in agriculture remains the main problem.