Russian grain exports will rise 40-50 percent in 2002 to a total of 8mtons, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister AlexeyGordeyev said today after a meeting with Canadian Food and AgricultureMinister. The Russian Agriculture Minister was quoted as saying the cropsare currently being gathered in Siberia, and "it is hard to give anyforecasts yet as to what crops we will harvest there, since it has beenraining for the past two months in this region and there is no preciseforecast for weather conditions". However, according to Gordeyev, a largevolume of grain should be harvested, and "we will gather as much grain aswe did in 2001". The Agriculture Minister reiterated that in mid-summer ofthis year "the forecasted crops were 75-77m tons". He also reported Russia"stands a chance to sell forage crops to Canada, since in Russia they arehalf the cost compared to other countries of the world", and the grainwould be bought "by commercial companies, not the Canadian government". .
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his speech dedicated to the Day of the Russian Navy, recalled the threats that Russia is currently facing from a number of countries.