The abnormal heat that has smothered Russia since mid-June is destroying crops in southern Russia, the Emergencies Ministry said on Sunday.
The abnormally high temperatures hovering at about 40 degrees Centigrade and above are destroying grain, vegetable and fodder crops in the Astrakhan Region, the Republic of Kalmykia, the Volgograd and Stavropol Regions, the ministry said.
The abnormal heat has already killed a fifth of Russia's crops and higher grain prices threaten to push inflation up later in the year, Vedomosti daily reported on Friday.
Meteorologists say the 2010 summer is one of the three hottest on record.
Grain prices may double in comparison with 2009, Pavel Skurikhin, the head of National Union of Grain Producers of Russia, told the paper.
A state of emergency has already been introduced in 17of Russia's major grain producing regions. The Agriculture Ministry has downgraded the 2010-2011 gross grain harvest forecast to 85 million tons. Russia's volume of national consumption of grain is 75-80 million tons.
Food prices will grow by 10-15% by the yearend and 2010 inflation will surpass the 2009 figure, reaching 9-10%, Oksana Osipova from the Higher School of Economics said.
"If world prices on food grow by 10%, in Russia they will grow by 15%," Vladimir Tikhomirov from the Uralsib financial corporation added.
MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti)