MOSCOW, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Russia might impose a ban on grain exports if their stocks fall to 10 million tons, Izvestia daily reported on Tuesday, citing a government document. The government working group on non-tariff measures in foreign trade recommended the Agriculture Ministry monitor grain stocks on monthly basis, Izvestia cited the protocol of the working group’s meeting.
If the monitoring shows stocks decrease to a “critically low level” of 10 million tons the ministry should propose the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Economy introduce a temporary ban on grains export. The Agriculture Ministry confirmed to Izvestia such scheme had been proposed by the government sub-committee, however it pointed out Russia has ample grain reserves given large stocks from last year and big harvest in 2023. The ministry did not respond to Reuters request to comment on the article. (Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)
Comment: Well I’ll be damned. I did not expect this. I guess things aren’t all peaches and cream in Mother Russia as the tankies suggest. This means the recent grain harvest did not go as planned or even as well as it’s gone the last few years. Could have been the weather. Could have been fuel shortages for the agricultural sector. Could be the farmers are all off to war. It may be a shortage of rail transportation, again due to wartime requirements. Or it could be the old standby of corruption and mismanagement.
Just last August, Putin was boasting that Russia could supply the world with all the grains it needed. He threatened to make Ukrainian grain shipments totally unnecessary. Back in April 2022, Dmitry Medvedev boasted, “Our food is our silent weapon. Silent — but formidable.” The cutting back of Russian grain exports will only help Ukraine’s grain exports and Ukraine’s economy. Sounds like a D’oh moment in the Kremlin.
It’s not as bad as it looks though. I doubt Russians will have to do without their bread. Russia has reserves. This proposed export ban only applies to durum wheat and does not apply to humanitarian shipments or shipments to Abkhazia, South Ossetia or Belarus. Maybe Putin is just taking prudent precautions given that his war will drag on well into 2024 at least.