RUSAG-L: Current Events #28

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 not
limited to, the following:  the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Daily Report (RFE/RL), the Foreign Broadcast Information Service
at the Central Intelligence Agency's Central Eurasia Daily Report
(FBIS), Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central, Inc., and The
Washington Post.

The Russian Agricultural Listserv 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 July 1994:
-The Washington Post lists the current exchange rate at 2031R per
dollar. (The Washington Post, July 26, 1994)


25 July 1994:
-The State Duma failed to muster the required majority in three
attempts to pass post-voucher privatization legislation despite
amendments accepted by the government.  In response, President
Boris Yeltsin implemented the legislation by decree on July 22.
The government expects this second stage of privatization to
generate revenues of 2.5 trillion rubles ($1.25 billion) in 1994.
(RFE/RL, July 25, 1994)


20 July 1994:
-The agricultural ministry expects new tariffs imposed on imports
and higher procurement prices to cause a substantial increase in
food prices.  Officials are predicting a possible increase in the
price of a loaf of bread from 480 to 800 rubles and a rise in the
cost of sugar from 766 to 1510 rubles.  The ministry has asked
the government to impose "profit limits" on retailers to prevent
them from engaging in price extortion. (RFE/RL, July 20, 1994)

-The Economics Ministry is predicting that the 1994 grain harvest
will amount to 87-91 million tons.  Russian farmers harvested 99
million tons in 1993.  The Agriculture Ministry continues to
predict higher yields and argues that Russia will not need
increased imports.  The Agrarian Party, on the other hand, has
predicted a much smaller harvest and warned of "disaster."
(RFE/RL, July 20, 1994)


1-8 July, 1994:
-According to the Federal Hydrometeorology and Environmental
Monitoring Service, Russian farmers will harvest 92-96 million
tons of grain in 1994.  The meteorologists based their
predictions on the good crop weather reported across Russia.
However, the weathermen conceded that gross production is bound
to decrease this year since farmers sowed only 57 million
hectares compared to 61 million hectares in 1993. The figures
below (in millions of tons) illustrate the meteorologists' forecast for
Russian production of grain and grain legumes:


                  Forecast          Actual                    Annual Average
                  1994               1993                       1989-1993

Russia            92-96              99.1                        103.3
 North            0.45-0.50          0.40                        0.44
 NWest            0.50-0.55          0.45                        0.45
 Cntral           10.5-11.5          9.47                        9.95
 Volga-
 Vyatka           5.5-6.0            4.9                         5.46
 Cntral Black
 Earth            10.0-10.5          12.1                        12.03
 Volga            18.0-18.5          19.2                        18.97
 NCauc            19.5-20.0          21.19                       23.49
 Urals            12.0-12.5          12.87                       14.10
 Westrn
 Siberia          10.8-11.3          11.57                       11.44
 Eastrn
 Siberia          4.0-4.5            5.01                        5.35
 Far East         0.8-0.9            0.94                        1.21

(Interfax News Agency, Food and Agriculture Report, July 1-8,
1994, p.2, chart information quoted directly from Interfax
Report)

-The Russian government has unveiled a finance package for the
agricultural sector that could help ease shortages of harvesting
machinery, spare parts, fuel and lubricants, and other inputs.
147 billion rubles will go to supply organizations that provide
spare parts and materials needed to repair farm machinery.  The
Ministry of Agriculture and Food will lend Rosagrosnab, the
joint-stock company responsible for supplying farms, 850 billion
rubles.  The money will be used to cover a leasing program that
allows farmers to buy the machinery and equipment they need over
a five-year period.  The government has also released 4.6
trillion rubles in loans from the federal budget and
another 5.2 trillion rubles in Central Bank of Russia credit to
finance harvesting and state food reserves. (Interfax News
Agency, Food and Agriculture Report, July 1-8, 1994, p.8)


Area of Interest:  Poland

22 July 1994:
-Poland's Main Statistical Office (GUS) reported that production
in Poland was 9.2% higher in June 1994 than in June 1993.  On the
other hand, prices increased substantially.  Prices in June 1994
showed a 2.3% increase.  GUS attributed the rising prices to
increased energy and transport costs and also to the high cost of
fresh fruits and vegetables.  The June statistics did not account
for the recent "equalizing payments" imposed on selected
agricultural imports.  However, GUS officials are predicting that
the surcharges will have only a minor impact on food prices.
(RFE/RL, July 22, 1994)


Area of Interest:  Uzbekistan

1-8 July, 1994:
-Uzbekistan, which has an annual need of 6 million tons of grain,
is expected to harvest at least 2.3 million tons in 1994.  Under
a new grain development program, Uzbekistan has increased its
crop area to 1.29 million hectares, which includes 698,000 ha of
irrigated land.  Uzbek officials predict their country may be
able to meet 70-80 percent of its grain requirement within the
next few years by improving yields, changing crop structures, and
introducing up-to-date farming technology.  Uzbekistan currently
imports 70 percent of its grain.  Kazakhstan is the main supplier
of grain to Uzbekistan;  the rest is imported from Russia,
Turkey, and China. (Interfax News Agency, Food and Agriculture
Report, July 1-8, 1994, pp. 3-4)


Area of Interest:  Turkmenistan

1-8 July 1994:
-Under a special grain development program, Turkmenistan had
targeted wheat production at 1 million tons this year.  However,
actual wheat procurement is expected to reach only a little over
500,000 tons.  Officials had estimated entire grain requirements
for 1994 at 1.5 million tons.  Turkmenistan farmers harvested
900,000 tons in 1993 and 800,000 tons in 1992.  The development
plan calls for grain production to reach 1.86 million tons by
1997 and 2.5 million tons by 2002. (Interfax News Agency, Food
and Agriculture Report, July 1-8, 1994, p.4)