Drought provokes Russian grain price hike

Now Reading:

Drought provokes Russian grain price hike

Drought provokes Russian grain price hike
Text size Aa Aa

Russian shoppers are seeing hikes in the price of basic foodstuffs such as buckwheat, flour and milk.

A severe drought this summer coupled with wildfires has ravaged crops – and that on top of a poor buckwheat harvest last year.

Moscow has banned wheat exports to try to ease supply problems but Russians are still feeling the pinch.

One shopper said milk had gone up by 25 per cent and she says that is a rise that is just too much to cope with.

When the cost of grain goes up, so does the price of bread. However there are also reports of higher prices for items such as honey and salt.

Shopkeepers insist their hands are tied.

“We’re not inflating our margins,” said one. “If the products are more expensive it’s because the wholesale prices are more expensive.”

But the wholesalers are also passing the buck – on to the producers. They accuse them of exploiting the situation.

“It’s the producers,” said Ruben Hasanov, the head of a wholesale distribution centre. “They’ve artificially inflated the prices on talk of a drought and a poor harvest.”

Whatever the truth, the grain harvest this year is predicted to be a third lower than 2009, which was already down on the previous two crops.

And despite government pledges, the average Russian seems doomed to pay more for everyday goods.