Floods incur small damage to crops in Southern Russia

Floods in the South of Russia incurred insubstantial damage to the graincrop in the region, head of the Russian Agriculture Ministry AlexeyGordeyev said at a press conference dedicated to the opening of the RussianFarmer world fair in St. Petersburg. The Agriculture Minister was quoted assaying the agriculture growth rate has been 2 percent higher than theindustrial growth rate (6 percent) for three years in a row. An increase inmilk and meat output was posted for the first time. In general, accordingto Gordeyev, "agriculture has started to revive and is demonstrating apositive development dynamics in the new conditions of the market". The minister also reported despite the emergency situations in the South ofRussia this summer, in Stavropol and the Krasnodar region record high graincrops had been posted with insubstantial losses caused by floods. Accordingto Gordeyev, the situation with Russian grain exports remains unchangedthis year (5m tons of grain were exported in 2001 for the first time),while the traditionally small volume of grain imports persists in Kamchatkaand Sakhalin, where Australian grain is imported. According to theAgriculture Minister, the major development problem that Russianagriculture is facing is the ongoing growth of agricultural product importsfrom the European Union, the US and Canada. At the same time, the presenceof domestic suppliers is growing. This all results in a problem of theprice stabilization on the grain, milk and meat markets. On August 29 theRussian government will discuss the mechanisms of state regulation of thecurrent situation and start its intervention. .

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