RUSAG-L: Current Events #23

Please keep in mind that the following current events information represents
information about events in Russian agriculture we received during the past
week, while the actual events may have occurred earlier.

The sources for the information below include, but are notl imited to, the
following:  the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Daily Report (RFE/RL), the
Foreign Broadcast Information Serviceat the Central Intelligence Agency's
Central Eurasia Daily Report( FBIS), U.S. Department of Agriculture's AG a.m.,
Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central, Inc., and The Washington PostD.

The Russian Agricultural List Service is sponsored by the University of
Maryland College of Agriculture at College Park, the Research and Scientific
Exchanges Division, Foreign Agriculture Service/International Cooperation and
Development,U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Committee
on International Science and Education of the Joint Council on Food and
Agricultural Sciences.

26 May 1994:
The current exchange rate is listed at R1886 per dollar. (Washington Post, May
26, 1994)

24 May 1994:
According to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, the government has drawn up a
resolution outlining the criteria for declaring an enterprise bankrupt.  The
government has supplied an initial list of 1,150 insolvent enterprises.  The
government will decide which ones will be liquidated and which enterprises will
be reorganized or placed under new management. (RFE/RL, May 24, 1994)

Boris Yeltsin has issued six economic decrees aimed at stabilizing and
stimulating the Russian economy.  The decrees appear to:  end quotas and
licenses for almost all exports, effective July 1; provide a 10 to 20 percent
reduction in company taxes and a conditional three year tax holiday for
foreign investors; erect measures to prevent tax evasion and initiate partial
resumption of state control over enterprises that have not yet been privatized.
(RFE/RL, May 24, 1994)

17 May 1994:
The Head of the Federal Agricultural Monitoring Center, Andrei Sizov, is
predicting Russia will need to import 7 million tons ofgrain.  Sizov based his
prediction on a domestic grain harvest ofapproximately 88 to 89 million tons.
The assertions by Deputy Prime Minister Zaveryukha and President Boris Yeltsin
that Russia will be self-sufficient in grain this year is based on an
estimated harvest of some 94 million tons. (RFE/RL, May 17, 1994)

14 May 1994:
Ivan Rybkin, Speaker of the State Duma, met with Chinese delegates to discuss
Chinese economic reforms.  Rybkin and the other members of the Duma expressed
interest in learning about the progression of the Chinese reforms.  (Radio
Moscow World Service, through World Radio Transcription Service, May 14, 1994)

Aleksandr Zveryukha continues to criticize government attitudes toward the
agricultural sector.  In a statement to Interfax NewsAgency, Zaveryukha
complained that other states subsidized the farm section while the Russian
government continued to "outline trends" for support.  He called the government
debt of 200 billion rubles for farm produce purchased in 1993 a
"disgraceful state." (Radio Moscow World Service, through World
Radio Transcription Service, May 14, 1994)

13 to 20 May 1994:
The Russian government has approved a new Land Code draft which attempts to
clarify some of the changes between the state and owners of land.  The code
stipulates that every Russian citizenis entitled to receive a certain amount
of land as private property for agricultural work.  Depending on the region,
some plots may be given free.  However, payment is required for larger plots.
The code does not address land use by non-citizens, but does say that foreign
citizens and legal entities can only rent land. (Interfax News Agency Food and
Agriculture Report, May 13 to 20, 1994)

Russia will supply Cuba with 2.5 Mn tons of oil in exchange for 1 Mn tons of
raw sugar.  Russia's import of raw sugar has declined dramatically.  In
January-April, Russia only imported 31,000 tons, a drop of 96 percent over the
same period last year. The government's postponement of import tariffs on
white sugar has made it more advantageous for commercial structures to continue
to import the ready-made product. (Interfax News AgencyFood and Agriculture
Report, May 13 to 20, 1994)

6 to 13 May 1994:
Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha reiterated his opinion that Russia
can do without grain imports this year.  He says that Roskhleboprodukt's grain
procurement enterprises that keep the country supplied with bread have 17 Mn
tons of stored grain and plan to buy another 1.5 Mn tons from Russian farmers.
Zaveryukha denies any talks have occurred between the United States and Russia
about future Russian grain imports from the US. However, State Duma deputy,
Vasily Starodubtsev, chairman of the Agrarian Union, has warned that Russia's
grain harvest will be as low as 60-70 Mn tons, leaving Russia needing to
import $6 billion of grain.  (Interfax News Agency Food and Agriculture
Report, May 6-13, 1994)

Russian farmers have picked up the pace of spring sowing since receiving
credits granted by the government in March and April, according to officials at
a meeting of the government commission for the spring sowing and harvesting
campaign.  By May 4, farmers had planted about 12.4 Mn hectares of grain, 0.5
Mn hectares more than last year. (Interfax News Agency Food and
Agriculture Report, May 6-13, 1994)

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin ordered 70,000 tons of wheat flour to be
shipped to Azerbaijan.  The Azerbaijanis will pay for the wheat in hard
currency, which according to Chernomyrdin, will be used to buy grain from the
1993 harvest to supplement grain reserves. (Interfax News Agency Food and
Agriculture Report, May6-13, 1994)

29 April-6 May 1994:
Experts predict Russia will only harvest 27-29 Mn tons of winterwheat this
year.  Winter grain harvests account for more than one-third of total Russian
grain output.  Five-year averages range at around 42 Mn tons.  Russian farmers
sowed about 4 Mn hectares less grain last fall than in 1992. (Interfax News
Agency Food and Agriculture Report, April 29-May 6, 1994)


13-20 May:
An official of the Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry is predicting that Ukraine
will not have to import any grain in 1994 if the domestic grain harvest remains
around 45.6 million tons (last year's level).  In 1992, Ukraine was forced to
import grain because of low yields. (Interfax News Agency, Food and Agriculture
Report, May 13-20, 1994)


13-20 May:
A United Nations committee plans to visit Armenia to discuss a humanitarian
aid program that would provide Armenia with 300,000tons of grain from May 1994
through April 1995.  Armenia only produces 60,000 tons of wheat yearly for the
food industry.  The wheat is expected to come from Argentina, Canada,
Australia, and Japan. (Interfax News Agency Food and Agriculture Report, May
13-20, 1994)