Putin Calms Russians Over Poor Harvest

Russia will have enough food this year despite a poor grain harvest in Russia and across the world, President Vladimir Putin said late on Wednesday.

“Even though the harvest will be lower than last year, the Russian agricultural sector has undoubtedly maintained its competitiveness and has demonstrated good growth rates in recent years, which gives us full confidence there will be no setbacks this year as well. We’ll be fully provided with foodstuffs and fodder grain,” Putin said at a meeting on the grain market.

Russia will have sufficient grain this year despite the poor weather conditions which have reduced the grain harvest, the Russian president said.

“As far as I can see, there will be slightly over 70 million tons [of grain harvest] compared with 94 million tons last year. The difference is large, but nothing disastrous is happening,” Putin said.

“Let me stress this year’s harvest allows us to fully provide our citizens with bread, potatoes, vegetables and domestic processing enterprises with necessary raw materials for the production of flour, butter, sugar and all basic foodstuffs.”

Putin instructed the government to take specific measures to halt rising grain prices, including intervention on the grain market together with Russia’s regional governments.

“The government should selectively and accurately influence the price situation on the grain market, and the prices of socially sensitive foodstuffs. This is a very important economic and social task,” Putin said.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on Monday the Russian government will start grain intervention from October 23 in the drought-affected regions of Siberia, the Urals and the Russian Far East, selling 110,000 tons of grain weekly to halt grain price hikes and stabilize the domestic food market.

“The prices that will be set at the initial stage will be about 10-15 percent lower than the prevailing market prices: 7,200 rubles ($231.51) for fourth-grade wheat and 7,600 rubles for third-grade wheat,” he said.


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