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Russia to ban grain export due to drought: Putin
Date: 2010/8/9 Click: 1140
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that Russia would impose a temporary ban on grain exports, RIA Novosti reported.

"Due to the abnormally high temperatures and drought, I consider it feasible to impose a temporary ban on exports from Russia of grain and other farm produce derived from grain from Russia," Putin said at a meeting of the government presidium.

The ban on grain export will be imposed from Aug. 15.

Putin also said that the government would allocate 35 billion rubles (about 1.17 billion U.S. dollars) to the farmers who have suffered losses due to drought.

Ten billion rubles will be transferred to the farmers without requirement for return. The rest will be provided as a three-year privileged credit.

The government on Wednesday decided to postpone grain interventions on the market previously planned on Aug. 4, before the fresh data on the regions' needs come out.

Last week, Russia's Agriculture Ministry lowered its forecast for the country's grain harvest from 90 million tons to 70 to 75 million tons for this year.

Russia exported 20 million tons of grain in 2009. Earlier this year, experts estimated Russia would be able to export up to 15 million tons of grain, mostly wheat and barley, in 2010.

The ongoing wildfires and drought, caused by the record breaking heat, have destroyed crops on 10 million hectares, or 20 percent of Russia's cultivated land in total.
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