Russia drought hit 22,000 farms; losses $1.26 bn

More than 22,000 farms in 800 districts of the country suffered as a result of the scorching drought in Russia, informed Russia`a Agriculture minister.

Last Updated: Sep 08, 2010, 16:44 PM IST

Moscow: More than 22,000 farms in 800 districts of the country suffered as a result of the scorching drought in Russia, informed Russia`a Agriculture minister.

"Confirmed direct losses topped USD 1.26 billion," Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik told the State Duma yesterday, referring to data of examination, carried out by the ministry.

The minister also informed that the loss of agricultural crops took place over an area of 13 million hectares, or 17 percent of the total ploughland in the country. The state of emergency was announced in 38 Russian regions.

At the same time, Skrynnik emphasised that despite substantial grain losses, the country will have enough crops both for food and forage purposes. According to data of the Agriculture Ministry, the country has garnered in 47 million tonnes of grain. "We shall meet fully domestic requirements thanks to our own grain," the minister said. The grain crop is predicted this year at 60-65 million tonnes (carry-over stocks of last year stand at 26 million tonnes).

Skrynnik noted that the main tasks of the ministry now are to create adequate conditions for normal operation of agricultural enterprises, experiencing difficult financial and economic conditions, preservation of cultivated areas under the main agricultural crops (grain, sunflower and sugar beets). Besides, it is important to prevent a decrease in
cattle.

The Agriculture Ministry worked out federal targeted programmes "Development of irrigation" and the law on "agricultural insurance from disastrous risks" in order to cut risks of crop losses as a result of unfavorable natural and climatic conditions and reduction of losses of
agricultural organizations. Skrynnik explained that implementation of the above programmes would help to raise crop yields.

PTI