Altai Krai lacks fuel for farm operations

BARNAUL, August 11 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s Altai Territory needs extra fuel for the harvesting campaign. The regional administration told Itar-Tass on Thursday that governor Alexander Karlin has turned to the Russian government with a request to provide to the region an additional 40,000 tonnes of diesel fuel and 35,000 tonnes of petrol at reduced prices.

The demand for fuel has increased because the sown areas in 2011 increased by 367,000 hectares – to 5.5 million hectares.

According to Karlin, the Altai Territory will need about 130,000 tonnes of diesel fuel and 45,000 tonnes of petrol for the whole complex of fodder laying in and harvesting works. However, the volumes of fuels and lubricants provided by the government at reduced prices make only 41 percent of the total demand.

The Altai Territory is one of Russia’s most important agricultural regions. Development of the territory’s lands began in the second half of the 18th century; and peasants from other Russian regions began resettling here in 1861. By 1917, the territory’s rural population had reached 1.998 million people and the total area under cultivation was 2.506 million hectares.

Today, farmland covers an area of 11 million hectares, of which 6.922 million hectares, or nearly 41 percent of the total area of the territory, is cropland. The main crops are hard varieties of spring wheat, buckwheat, millet, peas, barley, oats, and potatoes and other vegetables. This is this only region of Siberia where sunflowers, soybeans, sugar beets, and certain kinds of fruit grow. Livestock farming specializes in meat, milk, wool, and egg production. The Altai Territory is a major wool producer and an important base for breeding fine-fleeced pedigreed sheep, which makes it possible to export more than 30,000 head of pedigreed sheep per year. The territorial market also offers pedigreed swine, poultry, meat, eggs, honey, and wild products such as deer antlers, furs, and pelts.

Fruit-growing in Altai is made possible by specialists of the internationally known Lisavenko Horticultural Research Institute, which has developed a range of fruit and berry varieties adapted to the climate.

Presently, the Altai Territory not only meets the agricultural product demands of its own population, but also the demands of many other Russian regions. Altai exports many kinds of cereals, as well as processed grain products such as wheat and rye flour, pasta products, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, and flax fibre. The territory is Siberia’s largest grain, sugar, and meat producer and its second-largest cheese producer.

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