7 Sep 2010 15:13

Russia should harvest at least 80 mln tonnes of grain in 2011 - Skrynnik

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) - Russia's grain harvest in 2011 should come to at least 80 million tonnes, Agricultural Minister Yelena Skrynnik told the State Duma on Tuesday.

She said that, in order to boost the grain harvest next year, her ministry is planning to return to scientifically founded crop rotation, using standard crop seeds that are designated for specific climatic and natural conditions. In addition, the ministry plans to develop Russia's seed farming system.

When asked by deputies if the ministry plans to open up the intervention grain fund, Skrynnik said that the fund would be suitable for use after a balance for grain supply has emerged.

Skrynnik said that grain prices went up to nine rubles per kilogram in 2008 but has now stabilized at 5.5 rubles per kilogram of feed grain on average. For example, the Belgorod region is purchasing feed grain in the south at 5.9 rubles per kilogram.

Skrynnik said that the investment fund now contains 3.1 million tonnes of grains (of a maximum of 9.5 million tonnes), which will be distributed between regions that have suffered from the summer draught. However, she noted that this fund does not solve problems affecting animal husbandry since, for example, the Volgograd region could receive 150,000 tonnes of fodder grain although it has a deficit of 1 million tonnes.

However, the ministry will only release grain from the fund after it decides on its plans for the winter and spring, Skrynnik said, stressing, "this issue is strategically important for the country."