Moscow has moved to request that Kazakhstan and Belarus suspend grain exports due to the worsening drought, the Russian government said on Thursday.
The Economic Development Ministry has been instructed to submit a proposal to the relevant commission of the Russian-Belarusian-Kazakh customs union, the government press release said.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced earlier on Thursday that Russia was suspending exports of grain and grain products from August 15.
Russia is suffering the worst heat wave since records began 130 years ago. The drought has forced the Agriculture Ministry to cut its 2010 grain forecast to 70-75 million tons from 90 million tons.
The government will distribute grain from the state intervention fund without auctions to regions suffering from the heat wave, Putin said.
"We will not auction off grain, we will distribute it according to requests from regions. The regions will have to help [farmers] in accordance with objective criteria developed by the Agriculture Ministry," he said.
Russia's grain intervention fund currently holds 9.5 million tons of grain.
During the past agricultural season (July 2009-July 2010), Russia exported 21.4 million tons of grain. It has shipped more than 1 million tons since the start of the new season.
MOSCOW, August 5 (RIA Novosti)