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Russia’s grain union sharply reduces 2024 harvest forecast

Analysts cite an unseasonal sub-zero snap that hit key agricultural areas as the reason for the update

Russia’s grain harvest is not expected to exceed 130 million metric tons in 2024 due to the freezing temperatures recorded in the country earlier this month, the head of the Russian Grain Union (RGU), Arkady Zlochevsky, has said.

The official has highlighted that the areas impacted by the unseasonal cold snap are “sufficiently large,” specifying that farmers would resow 900,000 hectares (over 2.2 million acres) out of 1.5 million damaged hectares.

“Gross output is projected to amount to 129 million tons, quite a serious decrease, as previous outlooks put it between 142 and 149 million tons,” Zlochevsky told journalists on Monday.

The head of the grain union also said that the country’s agricultural sector hadn’t seen frost that late in the year for more than a century, stressing that the optimal time for resowing has already been missed. He added that “all analysts” have downgraded their forecasts for the current year’s harvest.

“Even if it is possible to replant all the areas required for replanting with spring sown cereal, the harvest will still be significantly lower than autumn sown cereal could provide,” Zlochevsky said.

On Monday, Russian Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut told journalists that the ministry is not planning to revise its grain harvest forecast and exports for the current farming year despite the latest cold snap and droughts currently hitting the southern part of the country.

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In separate interview with TASS, Lut said that the ministry is planning to declare a federal state of emergency due to the abnormal frosts recorded in May, adding that financial support would be provided to farmers cultivating fruit trees.

Earlier this month, several Russian regions, including Lipetsk, Voronezh, Tambov, Rostov and Volgograd declared a state of emergency at the local level, citing the May frosts, which caused severe damage to crops.

Last week, the minister of agriculture said exports of Russian grain were expected to bring in a record-breaking $45 billion in 2024.

Russia, the world’s top wheat exporter, has substantially boosted food exports in recent years with bumper harvests and attractive pricing, despite Western sanctions that have attempted to thwart the country’s cross-border trade. The nation has also been supplying free grain to a number of African countries that are facing food insecurity.

May 28, 2024 at 03:35PM
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