Russia to boost grain crops by 30-40m tons a year

Grain crops may grow by 30-40m tons up to 100-110m tons a year, while grain exports may total 20m tons, Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Alexey Gordeyev said at a press conference today. The Agriculture Minister was quoted as saying grain crops of the past two years can hardly be viewed as a long-standing trend but the government is planning to cement the growth of grain production in Russia. In view of this, the Deputy Prime Minister reported that in 2003 the stimulation of the emerging infrastructure for grain production and exports would start. In particular, the government is planning to provide credits for the construction of grain elevators.

Gordeyev also pointed out until recently 20m hectares of land had been underused in Russia, which may become a reserve for the further output growth. According to the Agriculture Minister, grain production and exports may become "a substantial contribution to the state budget, since they are reproducible resources, unlike oil or gas".

As it was reported earlier, in 2002 Russian grain crops were 86.7m tons, while Russia's grain exports in 2002-2003 are expected to total $10-12m tons.

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