November 24, 2008
Russia proposes to host world grains summit in June 2009
Russia, which aims to play a bigger role in world food markets, is proposing to host the world grains summit in St Petersburg in early June 2009, a Kremlin official said on Friday (Nov 21, 2008).
The summit would focus on the most serious problems facing consumers and producers of grains and food products. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged to take a leading role in tackling a looming global food shortage during a meeting in July between the leaders of the Group of Eight countries in Japan.
He said then that G8 leaders had backed a Russian initiative to convene a meeting of agricultural ministers, followed by a grains summit. Russia, the world's fifth-largest grain grower and exporter last year, expects to harvest its best crop in 15 years in 2008.
The agriculture ministry forecasts a 2008 grain crop in excess of 100 million tonnes, and says Russian exports in the year to June 30, 2009, could total between 20 million and 25 million tonnes.