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Russia on track to break 40-yr Soviet record on grain harvest

Russia on track to break 40-yr Soviet record on grain harvest
Russia is due to reap an all-time high grain harvest this year, breaking the Soviet era record from before the war in Afghanistan.

The country expects to harvest at least 128 million tons of grain by the end of the year, Petr Chekmarev from the Ministry of Agriculture told RIA Novosti.

Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Tkachev has said he expected the harvest could be as much as 130 million tons.

"To date, we have harvested 131 million tons in bunker weight, we forecast to collect somewhere around 138 million tons, it will be 128 million tons at net weight," Chekmarev said.

He added that the end of harvesting is expected in early December.

Last year, Russia managed to become the world’s leading producer and exporter of grain, after shipping 34 million tons from its 119 million ton harvest.

The previous record was set by the Soviet Union in 1978, just before the war in Afghanistan.

Russia has been boosting investment in agriculture after the sharp decline in oil prices significantly cut into revenues from the middle of 2014.

The country is also expanding production of non-GMO food. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the value of the organically produced food industry was $178 million in 2015, a substantial increase from 2010’s $116 million.