25 Jul 2018 14:39

Production of bioenthanol could create additional 10-15 mln tonnes of demand for grain in Russia - Gordeyev

MOSCOW. July 25 (Interfax) - The production of bioethanol could create an additional 10-15 million tonnes of demand for grain per year in Russia and helping solve problems related to the overproduction of grain, Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Gordeyev said.

"We are now overproducing grain; this is already evident. This was quite clearly demonstrated by grain exports of over 50 million tonnes for the first time in history last year," Gordeyev said in a meeting with members of the Federation Council.

Russia harvested a record 135.4 million tonnes of grain last year while the average annual harvest over the past five years has been 111 million tonnes.

"But at the same time we are seeing how much productive arable land is not being used in the country. And when we start to discuss the topic of fines and removal of land from negligent farmers, then of course, the root of the evil here is economic: you produce goods and nobody needs it, hence the empty land," he said.

Gordeyev said that given the situation, increasing production of bioethanol could create additional demand.

"If, for example, a steady 10-15 million tonnes of grain goes towards the production of bioethanol and all this is then passed onto oil companies to produce more environmentally friendly fuel; this is good and logical, let's work [on it]," he said.

He said that the production of bioethanol will also promote the achievement of environmental objectives. In western countries for example, regulations have been established for the use of biomass as motor fuel and oil refiners are obliged to take bioethanol or biodiesel, he said.

"In Russia, to put it bluntly, resolving this issue depends on who has the more forceful lobbyists; whether it's the agricultural sector or oil companies," Gordeyev said.