Argentina to export corn to drought-hit Russia

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Argentina will start selling corn to Russia for the first time in three decades, officials here said Saturday, in a move that could open up a market for three million tons of the crop.

Russian government officials "expressed their interest" in purchasing the corn for animal consumption for the first time since the 1980s, Argentina's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The first batch of 300,000 tons (of corn) will be ready in January 2011," Argentine officials said, adding that negotiators are finalizing the details.

Due to an unprecedented drought and devastating forest fires that have ravaged farmlands, Russia has lowered its harvest forecasts and moved to expand imports of staple goods.

Argentina is expecting a record corn harvest this year with 22 million tons of the crop, according to private forecasts.

© 2010 AFP

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