The Minister said the sowing campaign has almost been completed. As of June 27, the area under spring crops totaled about 52 million hectares or 97 percent of the forecast. Harvesting is taking place in the south. As of June 27, 4.4 million tonnes of grain have already been processed but the crop yield is a bit less than last year due to drought. Nonetheless, 100 million tonnes of grain are expected to be harvested.
Mr Patrushev noted that last year’s record harvest of 135.4 million tonnes has resulted in fairly serious influence on grain prices. Prices of class four wheat have dropped by almost 20 percent – from 8,400 roubles per tonne to 6,800 roubles. Analysts estimate that by the end of 2018, the price of class four wheat could reach about 8,700 roubles. The same trend is predicted for prices of all grains. According to forecasts, grain exports will reach 44 million tonnes in 2018, about the same as last year.
Stabilisation and even a small reduction in prices of fuel and lubricants, which is very important for agricultural producers, were also discussed. The minister reported that the Government made a decision to reimburse agricultural producers from its Reserve Fund for certain losses related to the increase in prices of diesel fuel and petrol.
Mr Patrushev also informed the President about loans for the sowing and harvesting campaigns, laying emphasis on the importance of launching the new mechanism for easy-term loans last year. By June 25, the Ministry of Agriculture had already approved over 220 billion roubles for subsidised short-term loans for all purposes.