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Saturday June 22, 2024

Russia declares emergency amid crop damage

By News Desk
June 11, 2024
Agricultural workers operate combines and trucks in a field during wheat harvesting near the village of Solyanoye in the Omsk region, Russia September 8, 2022. — Reuters
Agricultural workers operate combines and trucks in a field during wheat harvesting near the village of Solyanoye in the Omsk region, Russia September 8, 2022. — Reuters

MOSCOW: Russia said on Friday it was declaring a federal emergency in 10 regions because of damage to crops from May frosts, a measure that will help farmers with extra funds but which officials said should not derail export obligations.

The move came as no surprise after Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut said earlier this week that she hoped it would be introduced, paving the way for insurance claims by farmers.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Andrei Razin said on Friday that the impact of weather problems on farm output would be minimised and that Moscow would fulfil all of its export commitments, the state TASS news agency reported.

“As of today, we have already replanted almost 800,000 hectares,” he said. “All our obligations from the point of view of both domestic consumption and external export obligations will definitely be fulfilled.”

The sharp May frosts in Russia’s breadbasket regions have caused agricultural consultancies IKAR and Sovecon to downgrade their crop forecasts for this year’s wheat crop, however.

IKAR has cut its forecast to 81.5 million metric tons, a drop of 12 per cent since mid-March. Last year’s harvest was around 93 million tons.

Speaking this week before the emergency was introduced, IKAR head Dmitry Rylko said it was “a question of speeding up the procedure for farmers to receive compensation, as well as knocking out additional money for them”.