MOSCOW, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Russian government will decide whether to extend or reduce the length of grain export embargo after the fall harvest, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Friday.
"A bit later after the crops are harvested, after we calculate how much and of which quality has been harvested, and how much grain we will need for domestic consumption, only then we will have to think about the possibility of export," Shuvalov was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.
The decision will be made after Oct. 1, a source in the government told RIA Novosti.
The source admitted that for Russian grain traders the ban imposed from Aug. 15 has been a force-majeure situation as it affected the contracts already signed.
Russia needs to harvest no less than 60 million tons of grain this year in order to zero-balance grain consumption in the country. By July 1, Russia's grain stocks amounted to 21.7 million tons. If the harvest exceeds 60 million tons, the surplus might be channeled to international market, the source said.
Currently, the Russian Agriculture Ministry forecast 2010 harvest at about 70-75 million tons, down from an earlier prognosis of 90 million.
On Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the government decision to impose a ban on grain export from Aug. 15 till Dec. 31, due to the worsening drought in the country.