Agriculture Minister: 2003 to Be Bad Year for Agriculture in Russia

2003 will be a bad year for agriculture in Russia. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced yesterday by Russian Minister of Agriculture Aleksei Gordeyev. He said that in autumn 2002 1.5 million less hectares of winter crops were sown than usual. This means that next year there will be a smaller harvest. What is more, the minister pointed out, space research has shown that next year there will be a lot of solar activity which will have a negative effect on the harvest.

Mr Gordeyev believes that in 2003 there will be a much greater demand for Russian grain yet at the same time there will be less grain available. 'As a result of the poor winter sowing, the spring sowing will now be more difficult,' the minister emphasised. 'We are lucky that the government has a store of grain, which may be available on the market next year,' he said, adding that there are currently 20 million tonnes of grain held in reserve.

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