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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grain Exports Up Tenfold

Russia boosted its grain exports almost tenfold year on year in the first eight months of 2002, but according to a top agricultural analyst, exports could come to a halt in the medium term.

Grain exports rose to 4.1 million tons in January to September compared with 420,200 tons in the same period last year, Prime-Tass reported Thursday.

Domestic demand, however, is likely to surpass production in the next five to seven years, SovEcon said in a report released earlier this week.

Average grain output in the next five years is likely to be around 75 million tons, better than in 1998 to 2002 but below the early to mid-1990s, the report said.

"The view that Russia will become a stable, large-scale grain exporter in the medium term is mainly based on the fact that Russia has about 12 percent of the world's arable land but only about 2.5 percent of its population," the report said.

The Agriculture Ministry has said Russia could export 10 million to 12 million tons per year by 2007 and increase exports to 14 million to 16 million tons by 2010. But those plans are based on a assumption of further growth, the report said, and the surplus grain supply this year reflects a sharp fall in demand in the 1990s.

Officials also have said that the area sown to grain, which declined steadily in the 1990s, can be greatly expanded, but much of the country's agricultural machinery has fallen into disrepair and that land cannot be exploited, the report said.