Russian grain production suffering

Aug. 13, 2010 at 10:59 AM

MOSCOW, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The grain harvest for Russia as of the first week of August was down 3 percent compared with the same time in 2009, the Russian government announced.

The grain harvest in Russia was reported at around 27 million tons as of Aug. 1, Russian news agency ITAR-Tass reports. Agricultural Minister Yelena Skrynnik said last week the grain harvest for 2010 would be around 60 million tons, down from nearly 97 million tons last year.

The worst heat wave in recorded history in Russia is having a devastating impact on food crops. About 25 percent of the grain crop in Russia was wiped out by the drought and wildfires raging across parts of the country.

Moscow said earlier this week it was imposing an export ban on grain starting Sunday in order to preserve domestic supplies. Grain production from the United States, India, Australia and Uzbekistan are expected to make up for the shortfall.

The crop loss has cost the Russian economy around $15 billion this year.

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