RUSAG-L: Current Events #64

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 Open Media Research Center (OMRI), 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.


1 September 1995:

-The Washington Post lists the current exchange rate at R4435 per dollar.
(The Washington Post, September 1, 1995)

-At an agricultural fair in St. Petersburg, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
criticized the Duma for not enacting a law on land reform and warned that the
government would call a referendum on land reform if the Duma did not act
quickly.  Chernomyrdin also criticized the powerful farm lobby's opposition to
private ownership.  He said economic reform would falter unless the land issue
was settled to allow private ownership of land.  (OMRI, No. 171, September 1,
1995).


25 August 1995:

-A group of trade unionists and industrialists have sought to enlist the
cooperation of  Agrarian Party leader Mikhail Lapshin in forming an electoral
alliance for the December parliamentary elections.  The final decision will be
made on September 5, after the parties hold congresses to select their list of
candidates.  Lapshin has expressed an interest in cooperating with the two
groups.  (OMRI, No. 166, August 25, 1995).

-Major General Aleksandr Artemov expressed concern over the inability of the
Russian Army to feed itself.  He complained that bakeries are refusing to sell
bread to the military until the government pays for it.  Artemov said the
situation could quickly get out of hand unless measures are taken to correct
the military's food problems.  (Jamestown Monitor, Vol .1, No. 82, August 25,
1995).


24 August 1995:

-According to the Kommersant Business Daily Report, Roslesprom, Russia's state
timber company, will sign a memorandum with US Export-Import Bank (Eximbank)
to secure western credits worth up to 1.5 billion dollars.  The credits will
be used to modernize Russian timber processing plants and to boost exports.
The memorandum would be part of a Roslesprom-Eximbank program to invest in the
timber industry using a 5 billion dollar US credit line.  The Russian timber
industry, along with the fuel and energy sector, has traditionally been one of
the most attractive areas for foreign investment.  (Nexis/Lexis, through Mead
Data Inc., Agence France Presse, August 24, 1995)


23 August 1995:

-A report in the Toronto Star suggests that bread prices in supermarkets may
cost as much as 10 cents a loaf more in the next few months.  Drought in
Australia, new farming patterns in western Canada, and poor agrarian
conditions in Russia have led to emptier wheat bins throughout the world.
According to the report, a bushel of wheat for September delivery costs $4.66,
but today it would costs $6.17.  Experts say these trends point to less
production, a smaller supply, and rising prices.  (Nexis/Lexis, through Mead
Data Inc., The Toronto Star, August 23, 1995).

-An article that appeared in Segodnya suggested the government is trying to
win the electoral support of the agricultural sector by agreeing to expand
support for agriculture in 1996 by 3.1 trillion rubles.  The article said any
effort to win agrarian support could backfire by isolating other
constituencies or increasing inflationary tendencies.  (Jamestown Monitor,
Vol. 1, No. 80, August 23, 1995).


18 August-August 25, 1995:

-In a calculated display of Party unity, senior Agrarian Party officials
announced that there was no split between Agrarian Party leader Mikhail
Lapshin and Agrarian Union leader Vasily Starodubtsev.  Officials did say,
however, that they would spurn any overtures by Duma Speaker and Agrarian
Party member, Ivan Rybkin, who has formed a new center-left bloc.  Instead,
the Agrarians plan to coordinate their election campaign with the Communists,
which will include not opposing one another in single member districts.  The
Agrarian Party currently holds 65 of the 450 seats in the State Duma.
Alexander Zaveryukha, deputy prime minister of agriculture, projects the Party
could win as many as 120 or 150 seats in the December parliamentary elections.
 (Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, Vol. IV, Issue 34, August 18-25, 1995,
p. 2).

-  Alexander Nazarchuk, Russia's Prime Minister of Agriculture, and Alexander
Zaveryukha, Deputy Prime Minister of Agriculture, have succeeded in pressuring
the government to pledge 3.1 trillion rubles more for the farm sector in the
1996 budget than originally planned.  The agreement would provide for freezing
factory-gate prices for fuels and lubricants starting September 1, allowing
state and collective farms to stay intact, stiffening regulations for the food
and farm produce market, and providing as much as 1.3 trillion rubles for
farmers to buy machinery and pedigree livestock.  Zaveryukha signed the
agreement with Agrarian Union leader, Vasily Starodubtsev.  (Interfax Food and
Agriculture Report, Vol. IV, Issue 34, August 18-25, 1995, p. 2)

-Official estimates continue to vary on this year's expected grain harvest.
Some private traders confided to Interfax that they expect Russian farmers to
harvest approximately 65 million tons of grain, while others pessimistically
predicted a harvest as low as 45-50 million tons.  Alexander Nazarchuk,
Russia's Minister of Agriculture, recently placed the harvest at somewhere
around 70 million tons.  By August 14, farmers had harvested 32 million tons
of grain, not including maize, from an area of almost 55 million hectares.
The average yield was 1.4 tons per ha, way below the 2.3 tons per ha recorded
last year.  (Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, Vol. IV, Issue 34, August
18-25, 1995, p. 5).

-Sakhalin Island fishermen expect to have a bumper crop of salmon this year
because of a massive shoal  of the valuable fish that has moved into the
Sakhalin waters.  They had already netted 14,000 tons of salmon by August 14,
way above the target of 3,000 tons.  Fisherman are hauling in 800 tons of the
fish per day.  (Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, Vol. IV, Issue 34,
August 18-25, 1995, p. 4).


AREAS OF INTEREST


MOLDOVA

18 August-August 25, 1995:

-Moldova's largest farm union, the Union of Agro-Industrial Complex Workers,
threatened a campaign designed to bring down the government unless the
government and traders settle their debts for farm produce by October 1.  The
farm union boasts a 1 million member body out of a total population of 4.3
million.  (Interfax Food and Agriculture Report, Vol. IV, Issue 34, August
18-25, 1995, p. 4)

23 August 1995:

-Transdniester officials began issuing cards for local people to buy bread in
order to prevent outsiders from coming in and buying the price-controlled
commodity.  The worsening economic situation in Transdniester has forced the
pro-Moscow government to introduce bread rationing .  (The Jamestown Monitor,
Vol. 1, No. 80, August 23, 1995).


UKRAINE

18 August-August 25, 1995:

-Government officials refuse to say how much grain Ukrainian farmers will
harvest this year, but experts announced that grain yields are averaging 0.35
tons per ha less than last year.  As of August 16, grain production was at
27.7 million tons, 3.4 million tons less than at the same time last year.
Since the government cannot pay for all the grain it has contracted,
government procurement of grain has also been slow.  The government has only
45.8 trillion of the 107 trillion karbovanets it needs to buy the grain.  In
addition, farmers have prepared 4 million ha for sowing winter crops, which is
just 44.6 percent as much as planned.  (Interfax Food and Agriculture Report,
Vol. IV, Issue 34, August 18-25, 1995, p. 6).


TAJIKISTAN

30 August 1995:

-The Tajik government intends to speed up privatization.  Authorities expect
all state property to be privatized by 1996.  In addition, the government
announced that prices for all kinds of goods and services had been liberalized
to date, except for cotton.  However, cotton producers will have the right to
dispose of 30 percent of their cotton in 1995 and the entire crop by 1996.
(OMRI, No. 169, August 30, 1995