Russia raises grain export forecast after embargo
Russia raised on Monday its 2011 grain export forecast to 20 million tonnes after a year-long absence from global markets which was a factor behind a rise in world food prices last year.
"We have to reconquer our export positions on the global market this year," ITAR-TASS quoted Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik as saying.
She revised up a previous 18 millions tonnes forecast and added that Russia's export deliveries were 10 to 20 percent cheaper than grain being sold on the world market now.
The world's third-biggest world grain supplier resumed exports on July 1 after imposing a ban in August 2010 in the middle of an unprecedented drought that wiped out harvests in 28 regions.
Analysts said Russia's export ban helped contribute to a sharp rise in food prices last year that was one of the factors behind the wave of Arab uprisings.
Russia was forced to cut grain production by about a third last year in the midst of a record drought that wiped out harvests in more than 20 regions.
The decision to reintroduce exports this year -- seen as imperative to Russia's ability to win back historic markets such as Egypt -- had been delayed by fears over European financial jitters and high-interest local bank loans.
But Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the end of May instructed his government to provide discount loans to farmers and ensure that enough land is harvested this year.
© 2011 AFP