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Russia can supply grain to Egypt if it asks for it

July 15, 2013, 13:28 UTC+3

Russian Agriculture Deputy Minister Ilya Shestakov evaluated the food situation in Egypt as 'not too good'

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MOSCOW, July 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russia can supply grain to Egypt as humanitarian aid if the country asks for it, Agriculture Deputy Minister Ilya Shestakov said on Monday.

“It is necessary to study the situation related to humanitarian aid to Egypt. The situation in the country is not too good,” Shestakov said.

If Egypt asks for grain supplies, the Russian government will consider its request, the deputy minister said.

Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedotov is co-chairman of the Russian-Egyptian inter-governmental commission that can facilitate the quick resolution of the problem. Shestakov noted that humanitarian supplies could be made from the Intervention Fund at the amount of 1.2-1.3 million tonnes.

Speaking about the export potential of Russian grain, the deputy minister said it amounted to 20 million tonnes. However, he believes that if internal prices are rather high, Russian grain will be less competitive on the external market. Meanwhile, till now the ministry has no apprehensions over the market movement because yielding of grain is expected to be rather high (95 million tonnes). Last year it reached 71 million tonnes, the deputy minister said.

This year domestic consumption is expected to reach 70.1 million tonnes. Despite the fact that this figure can increase due to fodder resources the price and the balance will remain stable, Shestakov said.

At present, prices are being lowered due to the harvesting in the Southern Federal District and in the North Caucasian Federal District where prices dropped by 4 percent (7,300 roubles per 3rd wheat). Totally, prices are being reduced in all Russian regions where the harvest work has not begun yet, the deputy minister said.

The ministry is now relying on the basic scenario by estimating the situation on the market and conducting purchasing grain interventions. Meanwhile, after the harvest work is ended the ministry will take a decision to conduct purchasing grain interventions, which will make it possible to lift harvest surplus and sustain the price. Interventions are planning for the end of September or the beginning of October in the Siberian and Ural Federal Districts. Till now the weather conditions are not favourable in the districts, Shestakov said.

He also did not rule out a possibility of conducting commodity interventions in certain regions this year.

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