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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grain Exports to Grow 50%

Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Friday that Russia would export 50 percent more grain this year than it did last year.

"Last year we exported 5 million tons [of grain], this year we expect to export 7 million to 8 million tons [in the 2002-2003 agricultural year]," Gordeyev said.

Gordeyev said that this year Russia had an exportable surplus of around 10 million tons, but lacked facilities to sell all of it abroad.

"Currently we aim jointly with Russian businesses to create facilities that could eliminate the technical restrictions," he said.

However, the European Union has proposed grain import quotas and duties after repeated requests from its producers for protection against Black Sea imports.

Russia in September threatened to impose tit-for-tat tariffs against EU meat and dairy producers.

Gordeyev said he expected the area to be sown this year to winter grains to be no lower than last year.

Russia sowed 16 million hectares with winter grains for this year's harvest, 2 million hectares more than in the previous season.

Winter grains accounted for 40 percent to 45 percent of the country's grain harvest, Gordeyev said.

He said the government planned to start intervening Nov. 5 to buy food wheat and food rye from domestic producers to prop up declining prices.

Overall, Gordeyev said that the nation's grain, sugar beet and sunflower seed harvests this year will be greater than in 2001.

"As of today, we have threshed 91 million tons of grain by bunker weight. If we take clean weight, we expect 86 million tons, which is more than last year," Gordeyev said at a press briefing.

He said less than 2 percent of the total area sown to grains this year remained to be harvested in the south of the country and in Siberia.