MOSCOW, October 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia could increase its annual grain exports to 13 million metric tons of grain, a deputy agriculture minister said Tuesday.
"Infrastructure modernization can expand grain exports to 13 million metric tons of wheat at least by 2010," Alexander Kozlov told the 11th conference of the Russian Grain Union.
In 2004, Russia harvested 78 million metric tons of grain and exported 7.7 million metric tons of wheat. According to Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev, Russia will be able to harvest at least 78 million metric tons of grain and export 10 million metric tons of wheat this year.
Kozlov said Russia needs to develop its infrastructure, technical regulation instruments, raise the efficiency of the state administration and the financial support of exporters to boost grain exports.
According to Kozlov, high railway tariffs, delayed VAT repayment to exporters, mismatched national and international grain quality standards and the absence of state programs of support for exporters impeded Russian grain producers in becoming competitive on the world market.
Kozlov also said the Russian Agriculture Ministry expected fodder grain consumption to expand on the domestic market due to the development of cattle breeding and the expansion of the fodder base.