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Tatarstan Announces Dramatic Drop In Grain Harvest

A drought has led to a steep fall in the grain harvest across Russia.
KAZAN, Russia -- Officials in Tatarstan say the severe drought affecting the Russian republic this summer will reduce the grain harvest to about one-seventh the total of 2009, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Tatarstan's Agriculture Ministry said in a statement on August 10 that only 668,000 tons of grain will be harvested this year, a significant decrease from the 4.5 million tons that were harvested in 2009.

Tatar authorities had initially issued a slightly more optimistic forecast, predicting up to 1 million tons might be harvested despite the drought. But final numbers were found to be much lower.

Tatarstan achieved a record harvest in 2008, when about 6.2 million tons of grain were gathered.

Russia's severe drought led Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on August 9 to declare that the country would not export any grain in order to keep its reserves full and ensure enough remains for domestic needs.

Putin said on August 9 that Russia's grain harvest this year will be between 60 million-65 million tons. The country harvested some 97 million tons in 2009.