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Russia Facing Poor Grain Harvest

June 29, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia is again facing a poor harvest and will probably need food imports to make up for the low yield, an agriculture analyst said today.

With just 51 million tons of grain expected, Russia at best will have just 1 million tons of grain to restock its reserves this year, said Anatoly Altukhov, head of the Agricultural Economics Institute. As a result, the country will have to import as much as 6 million tons of food-quality grain, he said.

Russia is likely to need imports of feed grain as well, he said.

``Feed-processing facilities are grinding to a halt″ because of a lack of grain, he said.

Russia consumes around 70 million tons of grain annually, including about 26 million tons of food-quality grain.

The country harvested just 47.8 million tons of grain last year, its worst crop in decades. Drought this year has already ruined some crops and reserves are low in some places.

The United States and the European Union are already supplying large amounts of food aid to help Russia cope with the shortages caused by the 1998 harvest.

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