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The State and the Drought

The State and the Drought
Delyagin Michael 17.12.2012

When Khrushchev started buying grain abroad, Churchill told: "I thought that I will die of old age, but now I know that I will die of laughter". As a whole this situation remains the same in relation to agriculture.

Besides meat we will continue to import grain because we produced food wheat during the Soviet period, but now its share is insignificant and we can’t bake habitual bread without import of so-called wheat improver, wheat of class III, we can’t bake it from that fodder grain which we generally grow.

This year we gathered slightly less than 72,5 million tons of grain — approximately the volume we consume. More than 20% of crops are lost, we collected less wheat, than in dreadful 2010.

Passing stocks of last crop were 18,5 million t. It’s less in practice: part has been stolen, part has been lost because of bad storage. After all 30% of farms have no normal granaries and uses barns as during serfdom times, some don’t have barns at all.

We can't spend present crop completely and send all stock for export: it is necessary to have insurance stock passing to the next year as well as seed fund.

Contracted export in the middle of the year was about 14 million t. It seemed, everything is simple: timely (that is directed on advantage of the producer, not of dealer-speculator) grain interventions and temporary restriction of export are necessary. After all if, having grain stocks even 18,5 million t., we will send 25 million t. for export, deficiency of grain will appear not in separate regions, but in the country as a whole — with clear consequences.

The state until recently refused to make grain interventions. After all liberal fundamentalism considers any intervention into economy heresy, while restriction of speculation is unacceptable at all. Today our prospects are menacing as the state doesn't enter civilized — I emphasize - civilized — restrictions on grain export. It is impossible to repeat the horror of 2010 when groundless ban of export not simply brought revolution to North Africa, but also caused huge and unreasonable damage to our producers as the part of the grain could have gone for export, didn't find demand within the country and decayed as a result.

At shortage of grain for domestic market, export should be limited: procedure of introduction of temporary restriction, allocation and equitable distribution of quotas on export is necessary. Otherwise officials having access to this or that will export everything they want, while others won't receive anything. Mechanism of reasonable quoting has been worked out on import — in particular, on fowl — and on export, for example, at distribution of access of oil companies to export pipelines.

This mechanism should be worked out in advance as when restrictions are entered in emergency situation, there is no time to think them over and they really do harm.

However I receive more and more proves that bureaucracy serves not to the producer, but, roughly speaking, to the speculator. At that its considerable part lives by principle "the worse — the better".

Being proud of grain export, it is necessary to remember that actually it is hidden import of meat. It is result of actual destruction of animal husbandry. On the Soviet norms, it’s necessary to produce one ton grain annually to provide food supply of the country per person. On mass Belarusian technologies a person needs 800 kg of grain a year and on the best Belarusian technologies, for which weak introduction opposition blames Lukashenko, even 600 kg is enough. While in Russia there’s even no task to self-satisfy the country with grain.

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