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Russia forecasts grain harvest up to 85 mln tons

01-22-2011 16:27 BJT

MOSCOW, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Russia could harvest 80-85 million tons of grain in 2011, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said Friday.

Zubkov visited the southern Krasnodar region, where Russia's best grain areas were located, Interfax news agency reported.

According to Zubkov, the areas under crops should increase by 25-30 percent this year.

"We are increasing the spring crop area because we did not sow enough winter crops due to the temperature," Zubkov said, adding that the government's embargo on grain exports would stay in force as decided earlier.

The government will supply farmers from a grain intervention fund starting February, lend farmers 150 billion rubles (about 5 billion U.S. dollars), and curb prices for mineral fertilizers and fuel.

In 2010, Russia suffered a 37-percent drop in crops, to 60.9 million tons, because of a summer drought that destroyed 13.3 million hectares of grain or 30 percent of the area under crop in 43 regions of the country.

According to forecasts, weather conditions in the upcoming summer are expected to be favorable for farming.

The lowest ever harvest in post-Soviet Russia was 47.8 million tons in 1998.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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