GYEONGJU, South Korea — Russian diplomat Oleg Kobyakov said Monday that the country’s ban on grain exports could be lifted this year, but also gave harvest figures showing Russia could ill afford to ship its grain abroad.
The Foreign Ministry official said grain output, including wheat, is estimated at 55 million metric tons, with 25 million to 26 million tons in reserve against an expected domestic demand of 77 million tons.
“We now have assured [supply of] next year’s domestic grains,” Kobyakov said. “We do not exclude such a possibility” of the government lifting the export ban this year.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said the ban is unlikely to be lifted before late 2011.