Russia harvests 60 million tonnes of grain: Putin
Russia harvested 60 million tonnes of grain this year, in line with adjusted forecasts due to drought, and will maintain its export ban until July 2011, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Friday.
"Despite the difficult conditions, the drought, we harvested in Russia around 60 million tonnes of grain," Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies during a meeting in Rostov-on-Don in its southern agricultural belt.
"Taking into account existing reserves this harvest will allow us to meet the needs of our country," he added.
Putin said the government would keep in place the grain export ban it imposed until July 1, 2011.
Following a heatwave and drought that sparked severe fires, Russia dropped its grain harvest forecast to 60-65 million tonnes from 95 million tonnes.
The government slapped on an export ban in August, originally to the end of 2010, in order to ensure supplies and try to keep a lid on a rise in prices, but later extended it to mid-2011.
The export ban caused the price of wheat, of which Russia is a major exporter, to soar.
© 2010 AFP