Grain Exports Pour Out Of Russia, Eyes East

During October 1-21, 2008, Russia exported nearly 1.67 mln tonnes of grain, including 1.52 mln tonnes of wheat, declared the Ministry of Agriculture on October 27.

During the whole 2008/09 marketing year so far (July-June), Russia has exported 7.9 mln tonnes of grain, including 7.05 mln tonnes of wheat, 839,000 tonnes of barley and7,000 tonnes of rye. In September, grain exports from Russia totaled 2.96 mln tonnes (2.63 mln tonnes of wheat, 4,000 tonnes of rye and 332,000 tonnes of barley).

The country's agriculture minister, Alexei Gordeyev, said on Monday that this year was witnessing the largest grain harvest since 1992, with the 2008 crop expected to exceed 100 million metric tons in net weight.

"Domestic demand for food grain and animal feed will be completely met as a result, and possible exports are estimated at 20 million tons," the minister said.

He said there were good prospects for exporting grain to China, although he noted that Russia was not yet on China's imports list, traditionally dominated by the United States, Canada and Australia.

The minister said China imports around 6 million tons of grain annually.

"We are planning to develop the eastern direction in grain exports," Gordeyev said, adding that this could lead to Siberia using fallow lands to increase its output.