1 Jun 2018 12:27

Russia to send last year's grain leftovers to poor countries under UN program - paper

MOSCOW. June 1 (Interfax) - Russia will send the leftovers of its record grain harvest of 2017 to poor countries within the framework of the UN World Food Programme, the newspaper Izvestia reported on Friday.

"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the relevant proposal to Vladimir Putin in March. The president backed the idea," the article said.

According to Izvestia, World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley proposed that Russia donate grain for humanitarian needs. The leftovers of the record grain harvest, which Russia has not sold under commercial contracts, could be an in-kind donation. Lavrov informed Putin of the proposal in a letter sent on March 12.

"We are offered to choose the country which will receive Russia's food aid, as well as the time and scope of the operation, based on the needs of poor states, Russia's foreign policy priorities, and logistics," Lavrov said in his letter to the president.

Russia's agriculture, emergency situations, and finance ministries are discussing the amount of grain that will be sent as humanitarian aid, Izvestia said. The grain could go to countries of the Middle East, East Africa, South America, or the CIS.

Russia harvested over 134 million tonnes of grain in 2017, with domestic consumption of 80 million, the article said.