4 Aug 2009 17:39

Russian govt to provide regions affected by drought with three-year commodity loans

ORENBURG. Aug 4 (Interfax) - The Russian government will provide regions that have suffered from a drought this year with three-year commodity loans in the form of grain from the intervention fund, Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik said following a meeting in Orenburg chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

These commodity loans will be provided to farms raising crops and livestock, she said.

Based on an appeal from the country's governors, the government has decided to extend short-term loans provided to farmers in regions affected by the drought by another year. In addition, subsidized interest rates on these loans will also be extended by one year. The subsidies will likely equal 80% of the Central Bank's refinancing rate, she said.

Agriculture producers impacted by the drought will also have their payments to agricultural leasing company Rosagroleasing be deferred by one year, she said.

Regions affected by the drought should submit all estimates for the necessary compensation to the Agriculture Ministry within one month. The ministry will then spend one month analyzing the estimates and will make a decision on how much compensation to allocate.

The drought has mostly affected the Orenburg, Samara, Volgograd, Ulyanovsk, Saratov and Astrakhan regions in addition to the republics of Bashkortostan, Tatarstan and Kalmykia with some 3.6 million hectares of crops being destroyed.