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Russia may start grain import to curb domestic prices
Date: 2010/12/1 Click: 1704
The Russian government does not rule out the possibility of starting to import grain, as an option in case the prices of the national grain market rise sharply, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

"If we see the prices grow, we'll channel the extra supplies of grain into the domestic market (from abroad)," Putin was quoted by local media as saying.

Putin said that current market prices in Russia were favorable for the grain producers. He urged farmers not to take risk and to sell out their grain stocks, in order to grasp the current opportunity.

"Don't wait, don't risk on spending quite a lot of money for storage and keeping of grain. We can't afford sharp leaps of the prices on the food market," Putin said. He urged the farmers and warned that the government possessed enough measures to curb grain prices.

The prime minister also mentioned an option of selling grain from the state's intervention fund as one of those means. In turn, he promised the grain producers to negotiate with the producers of fertilizers and fuel who raise their sale prices.

"We are aware of all those manipulations. We'll analyze everything and will react appropriately," Putin promised.

In August, the Russian government banned grain export after the severe drought last summer which destroyed crops in 43 of 87 Russia's regions.

In this month, Russian Agriculture Ministry also said it had negotiated on grain purchase with Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

At present, grain prices on the Russian domestic market hover over 200 U.S. dollars per ton. The Intervention Fund currently contains 9.5 million tons of grain.
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