Russia has slapped a temporary ban on grain exports to keep inflation under control after the worst heatwave on record decimated crops.
Prime Minister Valdimir Putin signed the order banning exports of wheat, barley, rye and maize from August. 15 to December. 31.
Putin also called on Belarus and Kazakhstan to introduce a similar ban.
The prime minister said:
“Because of the unusually high temperatures and drought, I think it’s justified to impose a temporary ban on the export of grain and grain products from Russia. It is true that we have enough in stock some 9.5 million tons. But we want to avoid prices going up on the domestic Russian market.”
The announcement that one of the world’s biggest crop producers is to ban grain exports sent prices rocketing.
At the same time the prime minister vowed 255 million euros in subsidies plus loans to the agricultural sector; adding grain from Russia’s central stores will be distributed to the regions.
Sergei Kryukov is a collective farmer:
“The weather has dashed our hopes..there is no rain, everything is drying up, the soil is cracked and we haven’t had any rain here for ages.”
Last year Russia exported 18.3 billion tons of wheat, a total only exceeded by the United States and the European Union.