RUSAG-L: Current Events #45

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 Interfax News Agency, Food and Agriculture Report, 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.


11 November 1994:
-The exchange rate is listed at R3102 per dollar. (The Washington Post,
November 11, 1994)


10 November 1994:
-The World Bank has approved a $110 million loan to Russia to help with the
environmental degradation.  The project will focus on institutions, data bases,
management capabilities, and cleanup methods and systems.  The management
project will finance regional programs in the Urals, the Upper Volga, and the
north Caucasus.  The World Bank says that environmental deterioration is
evident everywhere in Russia, caused primarily by mismanagement during
economic decline that failed to consider environmental factors. (RFE/RL,
November 10, 1994)


4 November 1994:
-The governor of Leningrad Region closed a Swedish-Russian timber company for
evading taxes and abusing the environment.  The company, Ladoga-Forest,
operating near Lake Ladoga, was charged with indiscriminate felling over
extensive areas, resulting in "irreparable" damage to "many hectares."
(Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central Inc., November 4, 1994)


3 November 1994:
-New Minister of Agriculture, Aleksandr Nazarchuk stated that he supports
state control to prevent unrestrained market relations in Russia's
agricultural sphere.   Nazarchuk noted that he would work to protect the
Russian market by opposing the import of goods that could be made in Russia.
Nazarchuk has also said that he would not support the 1995 budget unless the
sum allocated to agriculture was increased. The 1995 budget allots 5.5
trillion rubles to agriculture, compared to the 18 trillion rubles in 1994.
(Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central Inc., The British Broadcasting Company,
November 3, 1994)


-The Russian government's resolution to help financially strapped poultry
factories never got off the ground.  In the St. Petersburg region, most of the
poultry factories have been closed.  St. Petersburg's merchants have been
stocking their stores with American poultry.  American chicken legs sell for
R6000 a kilo, while local chicken legs retail for R3000.  Pravda claims
merchants buy American poultry because of the fat profits made by those who
decide on poultry imports. (Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central Inc.,
November 3, 1994)

-News of the Arctic oil spill near Usinsk received world coverage, except in
Moscow.  According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, oil spills occur
routinely in Siberia and the Russian Far North.  Reports claim that 20 to 40
million tons of oil lie on Russian soil.  Observers report Russian forests
with four feet of oil, and lagoons containing millions of tons of oil that
leaks into the water table, poisoning rivers.  Russia has also become one of
the few importers of toxic waste in Europe.  Since there are no laws against
it, attempts have been made to ship 36 million tons into Russia in the last
five years. (Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central Inc., The Daily Telegraph,
November 3, 1994)


2 November 1994:
-North Korean officials, who have abysmal human rights records in Russian
logging camps, have agreed to improve loggers' rights.  Conditions in the
camps have been compared to the Soviet kulag camps under Stalin.  Loggers
receive food rations near the starvation level. (Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data
Central Inc., Reuters World Service, November 2, 1994)


28 October-November 4, 1994:
-Deputy Minister Aleksandr Nazarchuk told Parliament that Russia would harvest
approximately 83-85 million tons of grain in 1995.  Ivan Gridasov, who is in
charge of crop growing at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, said wheat
production would amount to only 35 million tons, compared to 42.5 million in
1993.  Since wheat is often stored inadequately, Gridasov urged the government
to move quickly to buy the approximately 20 million tons of wheat still
available at farms. (Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, October 28-November
4, 1994, p. 2)


-Officials expect bread prices, recently freed in Ukraine, to increase by
300%-400% in the next few days.  In Kiev, milk prices have already gone up by
130%.  President Leonid Kuchma has vowed to pursue a radical economic reform
course.  Earlier this week, Kuchma appointed the economist Viktor Pinzenik as
first vice prime minister.  Pinzenik has been dubbed the "Ukrainian Gaidar."
(Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, October 28-November 4, 1994, p. 2)

-Russia, which contains 24% of the world's forestry resources, will increase
timber exports by 20%.  Russia will export 13 million cubic meters of round
timber or logs, compared to 11.5 million m3 in 1993 and 10.6 million m3 in
1992. (Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, October 28-November 4, 1994, p. 4)

According to an Interfax report, private farms now constitute almost 10% of
all land, compared to the 1% at the beginning of reforms.  In addition, since
land sale restrictions were lifted in 1993, 85% of all Russian land is either
owned by individuals or private enterprises. (Interfax Food and Agriculture
Report, October 28-November 4, 1994, p. 6)


Interesting Facts:

-Russia harvested 99 million tons of coarse grain in 1992 and approximately
83-85 million tons in 1994.  Wheat production, as noted above, amounted to
just 35 million tons, compared with 42.5 million tons in 1993.  According to
officials at the USDA, the United States produced 258 million tons of coarse
grain in the 1993-1994 season and 350.5 million tons in 1992-1993.  Flooding
accounts for the decrease in production in the 1993-1994 season.  Wheat
production amounted to 63.2 million tons in 1993-1994.  The United States
exports approximately one-half of its wheat, which would put US usage at the
same level as Russian production.  The difference is that the United States is
a meat based society, while Russia is a bread based society.


 -Some RusAg subscribers have noted an interest in sustainable agriculture in
Russia.  There is a network that exchanges information on alternative
agriculture that you might be interested in looking at, SAN or the Sustainable
Agriculture Network.  The person to contact is Gabriel Hegyes, SAN
coordinator.  His e-mail address is Internet:ghegyes@nalusda.gov  Telephone:
301/504-6425  Fax:  301/504-6409.  SAN is supported by USDA's Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education Program.