28 Sep 2017 16:23

Russian grain harvest this year could be bigger than last - PM

MOSCOW. Sept 28 (Interfax) - Russia's grain harvest this year could be bigger than last year's, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, opening a Cabinet meeting.

Russia harvested 120.7 million tonnes of grain in 2016, up from 104.8 million tonnes in 2015.

"In general, the harvest is drawing to a close. It is going up in almost all respects, and new records have essentially been set in some areas. I have in mind grains and grain legumes where, according to the last update, more than 122.5 million tonnes have been threshed," he said.

"This is not the final amount, but it is already bigger than in 2016. According to the forecast, this figure could rise even more significantly," Medvedev said.

In addition, he said he expected there to be growth in oilseed crops, sugar beet and buckwheat. The crop yield was increasing with each hectare and more vegetables were being cultivated both in open fields and on greenhouse farms. Self-sufficiency in fruit had reached 70%. The procurement of fodder necessary for the development of Russian livestock farming was successfully underway.

"And this is all despite the difficult weather conditions which emerged this summer. Let me remind you that farms in 16 regions suffered as a result of extreme situation," Medvedev said. He said this included freezing weather, droughts and floods. The damage to agriculture producers was supposed to be swiftly offset, to allow them to be ready for the new agriculture year in a timely manner, Medvedev said.

"I consider the results of the 2017 harvest to be extremely successful. We are getting returns from the colossal funds being allocated toward agriculture," Medvedev said, noting that 242 billion rubles would be allocated toward implementing state programs to develop agriculture and regulator the market for agricultural products this year.