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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Union Claims Tariffs Will Hit Grain Prices, Worsen Shortage

A proposed 26.1 percent hike in railway tariffs on cargo next month will exacerbate the nation's looming grain shortage, a top grain analyst said Monday.

The price hike is yet to be approved by the Anti-Monopoly Ministry.

Alexander Yukish, head of the Russian Grain Union, said Tuesday in remarks reported by Interfax that the Railway Ministry's increase will lead to grain prices rising by about a quarter.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, the grain harvest is expected to be around 65 million tons this year while from 6 million to 8 million tons will be imported. Much of the grain will be redistributed inside the country.

Yukish said more than 64 administrative regions will have to import grain to feed citizens and livestock. Some regions will have to transport grain 2,000 to 3,000 kilometers.

At the beginning of the summer, the union supported the Agriculture Ministry's request to the government and the Railway Ministry that proposed a cut in cargo tariffs, which now comprise from 10 percent to 30 percent of grain prices. The Agriculture Ministry also urged the dropping of tariffs on imported grains andcheap loans for grain producers.

However, no decision has been made on those measures.

Yelena Kulakova, spokeswoman of the Railway Ministry, said, "when such requests are received ? we usually consider them. We have reduced tariffs on the transportation of grain in the past."