RUSAG-L: Current Events #33

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), Interfax News, Food and Agriculture
Report, 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.


10 September 1994:
-The Washington Post lists the current exchange rate at R2253 per
dollar. (The Washington Post, September 10, 1994)


26 August-September 2, 1994:
-Alexander Zaveryukha, Russia's deputy prime minister in charge
of agriculture, is still insisting that Russia will not have to
import grain this year.  Zaveryukha says Russia will harvest
between 90 and 100 million tons of grain depending on how much is
lost during harvesting.  He did admit, however, that Russia may
have to import small quantities of strong wheat for bakeries.
Meanwhile, Russian farmers are 8 million hectares behind
harvesting schedules.  By August 29, farmers had threshed 18
million hectares of grain compared with 26 million ha at the same
time last year.  Ivan Gridasov, the official in charge of crop
growing at the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, has said
that worsening weather makes a harvest of 85-90 million tons of
grain more likely. (Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, August
26-September 2, 1994, p. 2)

-Roskhleboprodukt, the corporation that purchases grain for the
Russian government, is currently buying grain at market prices of
180,000 rubles per ton.  Earlier, farmers and officials on a
regional level had established 220,000 rubles as the asking price
for a ton of Russian wheat.  Some grain producing regions are
currently buying grain at prices of 100,000-110,000 rubles per
ton. (Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, August 26-September
2, 1994, p. 2)

-Although the new tariffs have not yet had any impact on the
market, the Russian government passed a resolution on food
supplies for Moscow.  Government bodies have been instructed to
supply staple foods to Moscow straight from federal food
reserves.  The Ministry of Finance has also been told to look at
ways to provide guaranteed loans of $160 million to help the
city's government buy raw foods for Moscow food plants.  In
addition, the government has asked the Ministry of Rail to
consider lowering its tariffs for shipping fish from the Far East
to Moscow in order to lower Moscow fish prices. (Interfax Food
and Agriculture Report, August 26-September 2, 1994, p. 3)


25 August 1994:
-According to Professor David Shavishvili, doctor of economic
sciences, the price of dairy products in Russia has gone beyond
world levels because imported dairy products can be purchased at
lower prices.  In a letter to IZVESTIYA, Dr. Shavishvili points
out that imported butter costs no more than $1.3 per kg and
children's products no more than $1.2 per kg.  In contrast,
enterprises' retail prices for animal fats now cost between 2,700
and 5,000 rubles per kg; canned milk between R600-800 for a 400g
can; dried whole milk, R1,700-2,500 per kg; and for infant milk,
between R2,800-3,600 per kg.   In addition, Shavishvili explains
that government structures give preference to imported output in
stocking dairy products for federal needs.  This year only 2,000
tons of domestic butter has been bought for storage compared to
200,000 tons in 1991 and approximately 80 million standard cans
of canned milk compared with 350 million standard cans in 1991.
(FBIS, August 25, 1994)


18 August 1994:
-The Russian Committee on Statistics reports that Russia's gross
domestic product (GDP) in the first half of 1994 amounted to 245
trillion rubles.  Decisive shifts occurred in the distribution of
the GDP among different types of property because of the intense
privatization of property and the rapid rise in economic
entities.  The share of private enterprises increased to 23
percent from last year's 21 percent.  The proportional added
value at non-state enterprises was 58 percent of GDP compared
with 52 percent last year.  Interestingly, the proportion of GDP
accounted for by services in the GDP exceeded 50 percent for the
first time in contemporary Russian history. (FBIS, August 18,
1994)


Areas of Interest:

Moldova

8 September 1994:
-Moldova made an appeal for international assistance in the wake
of the recent high winds and rain.  The appeal mentioned grain,
flour, construction materials, and medicine as items needed
immediately.  Government officials estimate damages at $0.5
billion.  Unless massive aid is provided, Moldova will be forced
to import large amounts of food for its population and livestock
and to switch substantial amounts of its budget to disaster
relief and reconstruction.  The Moldovan government fears the
disaster will derail its reform program which has been praised by
international organizations as a regional example. (RFE/RL,
September 8, 1994)


Lithuania

8 September 1994:
-The head of the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party, Justinas
Karosas, announced recently that his party will introduce several
amendments to the Constitution in the fall parliamentary session.
One of the amendments would allow foreigners to purchase land.
In order to pass the Assembly, the amendments must gain the
support of 95 deputies in two separate votes at least three
months apart.  Passage is unlikely unless party members can gain
substantial support from opposition deputies. (RFE/RL, September
8, 1994)


Poland

5 September 1994:
-President Lech Walesa addressed 100,000 farmers at the annual
harvest thanksgiving festival, commending them for feeding the
nation at a time of political and economic change.  Walesa
defended the peasant farmers against accusations that they had
moved too slowly to implement reforms and against statements that
they were responsible for faulty agricultural policies.  Walesa
said that economic reform was a "national necessity" and urged
the farmers to take advantage of the fact that the current prime
minister is from the Peasant Party.  (RFE/RL, September 5, 1994)


Belarus

26 August-September 1994:
-According to officials at the Belarussian Ministry of
Agriculture and Food, the World Bank has lent Belarus $42 million
to help develop its potentially rich lumber industry.  The loan
was extended for 15 years at 7% annually with a five-year grace
period.  Belarus plans to spend $54.7 million to develop
forestry.  The first $12.6 million of the World Bank credit will
be used to develop intensive forestry, particularly to boost
exports of small and standard timber to an annual 800,000 cubic
meters and 300,000 cubic meters respectively.  Belarus currently
exports 260,000 cubic meters of timber annually worth $7 million.
(Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, August 26-September 2,
1994, p. 6)