Russia Aims To Return To Top Grain Shippers’ Club

One year after drought prompted an export embargo, Russia expects to reprise its role as a leading grain exporter this season.

Russia expects to export 18 million tonnes of grain in the 2011-12 crop year that began this month, said Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik. This is in line with the export estimate from leading Russian agricultural analysts SovEcon, which recently revised its forecast upwards by three million tonnes to 18 million tonnes. Wheat is expected to account for 16 million tonnes of that.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the lifting of a ban on grain exports from July 1, bringing what was formerly the world’s third-largest wheat exporter back to world grain markets.

Skrynnik said Russia will harvest 85 million to 90 million tonnes of grain this year, up from 61 million in 2010.

“This is enough to cover internal needs and to build up an exportable surplus,” she said.

Favourable weather at the end of June and beginning of July has led SovEcon to raise its crop forecast by nearly six million tonnes.

Harvesting is lagging behind last year’s pace, but average yields rose by a third to 3.7 tonnes per hectare.

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