Grain harvests way up this year

After several years of dismal yields, Russia may harvest enough grain this year to resume exporting to other former Soviet republics, a top official said Tuesday. Agricultural Minister Alexei Gordeyev's statement, carried by the Interfax news agency, broke from earlier predictions that despite an improvement in crop yields the country would still need to import grain. Russia plans to reap 65-66 million metric tons of grain this year, said ministry spokesman Oleg Timashev. Russia suffered a record poor harvest in 1998 of 47.8 million metric tons and was forced to ask for huge shipments of food aid from the United States and the European Union.

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