Russia forced to introduce ban on wheat export after severe drought

The worst drought in fifty years in Russia has forced the government to introduce an export ban on wheat.

President Dmitry Medvedev told key ministers and governors that taming food costs remains a key responsibility for the government and regional authorities

“It was a very hard decision, given the commitments of the Russian state and companies. But the main goal now is to prevent the rise of prices for grain and mixed fodder. We must clearly understand what’s going to happen to food prices: the cost of flour, bread, meat and milk. Everybody, including the agrarians who are responsible for this sector, are concerned with that. But ordinary people are also thinking about the consequences of this harsh summer and its impact on the price of essential foods,” Medvedev said.

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The measure may result into a serious loss of market share for Russia in the long run, Abdolreza Abbassian of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, believes.

“One has to also look at the past experiences with restrictions. Often they result in short-term solutions for the country, but in the long run, they can cost the country dearly, and I am afraid that this may be the case for Russia, especially in the export market,” he told RT.

“During the last few years, Russia actually had managed to expand market share in quite important markets. Some of these markets today would have to look elsewhere for the supplies and this could really be quite a loss for a lot of traders and a lot of Russia’s trade in the future,” Abbassian added.

Chris Mayer, managing editor at Agora Financial, a financial services company, said it's too early to say if a global food crisis is imminent, but a sharp price rise is likely.

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