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Russia comes first in terms of grain exports — Putin

According to the president, in 2017, the grain harvest may exceed 130.5 mln tonnes

MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. Russia has become the world’s leading exporter of grain, President Vladimir Putin said at his annual news conference.

"Exports are growing, they are becoming massive. We have taken the lead in the world in terms of grain exports," he said.

According to the President, in 2017, the grain harvest may exceed 130.5 mln tonnes.

The decision to subsidize rail transportation, including grain, should work and help agricultural producers, he said. 

"We definitely agreed with the government upon rail transportation subsidizing. I cannot say whether the final decision was taken or not but it should be made and should bear fruit. This pertains to transportation at large and for exports in particular," Putin said.

An option with government procurements of grain is not ruled out, the head of state noted. "No doubts, grain producers need support. It can be implemented in different ways or with the use of government procurements. I do not think this is an excluded option, although the government does not regard it as feasible," Putin said.

The government is drafting a decree to compensate a portion of costs of grain carriage by rail from regions remote from ports, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said earlier. According to his assessment, this would make possible to additionally export 3 mln tonnes of grain.

Earlier, the Agriculture Ministry reported that the grain harvest in Russia in 2017 may amount to at least 130.5 million tonnes in net weight.

This year, Russian farmers received a record harvest - 140 million tonnes of grain in bunker weight. According to experts estimates, in pure weight the harvest of grain may amount to 132-133 million tonnes. That means that, Russia has beaten the record of the Soviet-era, when, in 1978, 127 million tonnes of grain were harvested.