Russia will harvest 10-15 percent less grain this year than in 2011 due to unfavorable weather conditions, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said on Tuesday.
“The harvest shortfall may reach 12 million tons in some Russian regions and 14 million tons across Russia,” Fyodorov told a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to discuss the ongoing grain harvest.
Russia harvested 94.2 million tons of grain in 2011 but is expected to harvest only 80-85 million tons this year.
Russian wheat prices have grown since the start of this summer, hitting a record high of 8,800-8,900 rubles ($273-276) per ton in early July and reaching 9,500 rubles ($296) in several regions, sparking fears of an eventual increase in fodder and meat prices.
Russia’s wheat prices have shot up owing to the drought in the United States, and some Russian regions and heavy rains in the south of Russia earlier this year. The Russian Agriculture Ministry’s recent downgrade of this year’s grain harvest forecast from 94 million tons to 80-85 million tons also drove wheat prices up.
The Russian Agriculture Ministry has also downgraded its export forecast from the 20 million tons previously expected to just 16 million tons.
Medvedev instructed the government to calculate and set the level of intervention required on the grain market to stabilize wheat prices.
“I would like you to define, within the shortest time possible, both the regions and the amounts of grain intervention,” Medvedev said, adding Russia’s intervention fund currently contained about 5 million tons of grain.
Medvedev admitted there were cases of grain price manipulation and called on the government to stamp it out.