ST. PETERSBURG, November 22 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s grain harvest in the bunker weight is estimated at 97.5 million tonnes this year, Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik told a rural youth forum in the Pushkin district of St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
“The aforesaid amount will be sufficient to meet the domestic and export demands in grain. The latter indicator is estimated at about 25 million tonnes,” she said, reaffirming that this year Russian farmers gathered record high harvests of sugar beet, sunflower, rapes and soy beans.
In Skrynnik’s words, export is the point of growth for the industry.
“Russia has powerful reserves for agricultural development, which is able not only to guarantee domestic [food] security, but also to become the world’s biggest food exporter,” the minister said.
“We hope that we can guarantee export of VAT-products [meat and milk], but not only of grain,” Skrynnik added.
Proceeding from earlier reports, the country’s grain net harvest is estimated at 92-93 million tonnes this year, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov told last Friday.
The abnormally hot weather of 2010 severely damaged grain harvest, as a result of which last year’s grain harvest was at 60.9 million tonnes.
As of November 1, 2011, the country’s grain harvest in the bunker weight (or before cleaning and drying) slightly topped 97 million tonnes.
This year, the government helped the Russian agrarians to overcome consequences of the financial and economic crisis and the drought of 2009-2010, Zubkov said back then. In particular, farmers gathered 48 million tonnes of sugar beet. About 5.2 5.5 million tonnes of granulated sugar will be produces of the harvest, which will make it possible not to import raw sugar.
Besides, Zubkov stressed that the budget assistance to the agricultural sector grew by more than 50 percent in 2008-2011. “It was disbursed 635.5 billion roubles [USD 1 = RUB 31.06] to farmers in the period under review, instead of the targeted funds of 421.3 billion roubles,” he said.
In 2012, the government plans to keep all effective assistance measures for agriculture, the first deputy prime minister said. In particular, 3.5 billion roubles will be assigned for the development of animal-breeding programs. Subsidies for investment loans will go up by seven billion roubles to reach 52 billion roubles. Representatives of the small business in the rural territories will receive 6.3 billion roubles, which is 400 million roubles more than in 2010.