Grain Ban Hurts Russia’s Credibility

Russia must restore its credibility as a grain supplier after banning exports and sending grain prices soaring, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said April 6.

“I want to assure you we will do the utmost to remedy the situation on the grain market and to compensate supplies in the coming years and to restore our image as a reliable partner,” Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying.

Russia, once the world’s third-largest wheat exporter, imposed a ban on all grain exports from Aug. 15 to July 1, 2011 and is likely to extend it. Jordan was one of the main buyers of Russian grain.

Putin spoke at a meeting in suburban Moscow with King Abdullah of ally Jordan.

Russia shipped to Jordan 612,100 tonnes of wheat out of a total of 18.2 million tonnes and 103,400 tonnes of barley out of a total 2.8 million in 2009-10, according to SovEcon agricultural analysts.

After the ban was imposed, the head of Russia’s Grains Union, Arkady Zlochevsky, said Russian traders fulfilled all previously signed contracts with countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa, key buyers of Russian grain, shipping grain of other origins mainly Kazakh.

Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik said that Russia may consider lifting the ban in September or October.

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