Russia's grain harvest will total 75 million tons this year, in line with the lower edge of previous forecasts of 75-80 million tons, Russia's Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov told Rossiya 24 TV on Thursday.
"We started with forecasts of around the same level as last year, a harvested total of 94 million tons...until the last few days, we gave a forecast of 75-80 million tons, but today we can't say it will be 80 million tons but more likely around 75 million tons," he said.
Fyodorov said the Agriculture Ministry was not concerned by the forecast because even in the similar drought of 2010, the harvest was 60 million tons, and the country has reserves of an additional 17 million tons and 5 million tons in the intervention fund.
“Considering that internal demand for fodder and domestic food grains are around 70 million tons, we are sure of our export potential for grain and wheat and can say that our country and people are protected,” he said.
According to the ministry’s forecasts, with a harvest of 75 million tons of grain, Russia will have total grain resources of 93.3 million tons, with a domestic consumption of 70.3 million tons. This will allow Russia to export up to 12 million tons. Russia will have reserves of 11 million tons as of July 1, 2013.
The previous forecast estimated a harvest of 80-85 million tons with exports at 16 million tons.
Russia’s farms in the Volga and Siberian regions have once again been hit by drought and heatwaves this year. The Agriculture Ministry estimates the drought has already destroyed six percent of the country’s sown area. The worst affected are the Southern Federal District, the Urals, Siberia and the Volga area, Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported earlier in August.