Russia To Give $3.4 Billion To Agriculture In 2010

The Russian government will give about $3.42 billion to support agriculture this year, to help keep sowing areas stable and to increase meat production, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said March 19.

“In 2010, the federal budget alone will dedicate over 100 billion rubles ($3.42 billion) to support agriculture,” Putin said on a conference call on the spring sowing campaign. “(Of this) over 25 billion will be used for the spring sowing campaign.”

The conference call was posted on his website http://premier.gov.ru.

Last year, the federal government channelled a total of 190 billion rubles to farmers.

Putin said the government expected the total area to be sown with all crops for the 2010 harvest to be 78 million hectares, unchanged from 2009.

The federal government, with regional authorities, will spend 13.7 billion rubles to compensate farmers for charges on loans by commercial and state-run banks.

Putin also said that government plans to develop domestic meat production, mainly poultry, meant grains for animal feed would have to be taken into account in sowings.

He added that support for exports remained one of the country’s “strategic priorities.”

Russia’s grain crop could fall by up to nine per cent this year to 88 million to 89 million tonnes, as late spring leads to lower winter grain yields and a smaller spring grain area, a leading Russian agricultural analyst said on Tuesday.

But with domestic demand of 76 million to 77 million tonnes, this leaves the country with a substantial export surplus.

This will be added to carry-over stocks estimated to be around 21 million tonnes at the end of the current crop year, which ends on June 30.

The resource includes around 10 million tonnes of grain of the government intervention stocks, which the state grain trader, the United Grain Company, has difficulties to dispose of because of complicated Russian legislation.

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