Putin pushes for spring sowing ‘catch-up’

Russian Premier Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered the pace of spring sowing to increase.

Speaking at a government meeting, Putin said only 4 million hectares had so far been sown, half as much as last year’s spring sowing.

“This is the result of the late spring,” the premier said. “We should catch up on the lost time in the weeks to come.”

He said 150 billion rubles ($5.4 billion) had been earmarked to finance spring sowing this year.

Russia, one of the world’s largest producers of wheat, barley and rye, banned grain exports last year following a drought and wildfires.

The 2010 crop was 60.9 million tons, 37 percent less than in 2009.

President Dmitry Medvedev said the ban would be lifted after 2011’s harvest was gathered in.

MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti)

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