7 Sep 2010 13:53

Drought damage to Russian agricultural complex tops 39 bln rubles

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) - Russian agriculture suffered more than 39 billion rubles in damage from this summer's drought and abnormally hot weather, and over 22,000 farms were harmed, Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik told the State Duma (parliament) on Tuesday.

Thirty-eight regions in Russia had states of emergency declared, and planted crops died over almost 13 million hectares of land - 30% of the planting in those regions, Skrynnik said.

The government and her ministry took a series of steps to support stricken regions, allocating 35 billion rubles for support, of which 25 billion rubles were budgetary loans and another 10 billion subsidies to cover direct damage, she said. Such regions have already been sent 14.8 billion rubles in the former, and the other 10 billion has been dedicated to regions.

The remaining 20 billion rubles will be transferred to the regions before the end of October, including 5 billion rubles next week.

The matter of prolonging short-term and investment credits and leasing payments for cash-strapped outfits has been settled. And Russia also imposed a ban on the exporting of grain and products made from it.

Things being what they are, Skrynnik said, the Agriculture Ministry sees its as strategic task developing land-improvement and reclamation and improving agricultural insurance. The ministry has designed a federal target program called Development of Melioration and a law bill on Agricultural Insurance of Catastrophic Risks, which is planned to be submitted to the State Duma next week.