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    » 08/06/2010, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Russia bans wheat exports



    20% of cereal crops destroyed by drought and fires. Prime Minister Putin speaks precautionary measure and reassures that there are sufficient stocks for domestic consumption. But grain prices in Russia have increased more than the world markets. The new sharp price increase will cause problems for big importers.

    Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Russia has banned the export of wheat, flour, maize and other cereals from 15 August to 31 December, after the severe drought and devastating fires in recent weeks that have destroyed 20% of grain crops . further large increases in world prices of wheat are expected, which has already risen by 70% this summer.

    Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday announced a ban on exports - during a televised Cabinet meeting - as a precautionary measure, saying the country still has sufficient reserves, but it is necessary to "prevent increases in domestic price of food, preserve the number of cattle and provide reserves for next year. " After the next harvest it will decided whether to extend the ban in 2011.

    Just two days ago the Minister for Agriculture Alexander Belyayev had ruled out such a prohibition, ensuring that reserves cover domestic demand and were well enough to continue their exports. Moreover the farmers have little interest in the foreign market, given that grain prices have increased more rapidly in Russia and around the world.

    The ban will cause an increase in world price of bread, primarily benefiting countries like U.S., Australia and Argentina, major exporters of cereals, while Canada and the European Union does not forecast large harvests. Conversely, it could starve entire regions of the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, where the price of food is a large part of household income.

    The damage to crops was mainly caused by severe drought and warmest summer in the last 130 years. But the death blow was dealt by extensive fires that have burned over 650 thousand hectares of land in a week, with 40 deaths and 1,800 houses burned.

    Moreover, Russian agriculture has lagged behind in development, with little investment since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Only in recent years has production improved, thanks to the intervention of Russian and foreign companies that buy large tracts of land under cultivation.

    In 2009 Russia exported 21.4 million tons of grain.

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    See also

    17/04/2008 KAZAKHSTAN
    In the world of the global economy, prohibitions on wheat exports are returning
    Kazakhstan's ban on wheat exports is causing great difficulties for nearby countries. Yet production is on the rise in the country, and in the future it plans to supply Europe and China.

    15/02/2011 CHINA
    Drought threatens 6.75 million hectares of crops
    Snowfall and cloud seeding have had limited effects. Drought has been particularly bad for wheat, whose output is expected to be around 100 million tonnes this year, down from 115 last year. Once self-sufficient, China must import as world prices skyrocket.

    22/03/2010 CHINA
    Worst drought in a century wipes out harvests in southwestern China
    Rainfall drops 80 per cent. About 51 million people face water shortages in Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Sichuan and Chongqing. Food prices hit the roof as speculators horde production. The danger of street protests increases.

    13/03/2010 ASIA
    El Niño and heavy industry leave South East Asia waterless
    Over 65 million people in the Mekong region are suffering the worst drought in 30 years. Bangkok: the Chinese dams the source of the problem. At risk crops of rice and sugar, production of palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia. Indigenous Filipinos forced to eating poisonous plants.

    13/01/2011 CHINA – EAST ASIA
    World Bank expects China to lead Asia in growth in 2011
    The World Bank forecasts strong but lower growth in China and the Asia-Pacific region, especially because of higher inflation. Experts say China’s growth will be shaped by political decisions, like the value of the yuan.



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