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Record freeze destroys 30 percent of Russia's crops: minister
www.chinaview.cn 2006-02-20 05:42:32

    MOSCOW, Feb. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- Strong frost this winter destroyed 30 percent of Russia's winter crops and 10 percent of its vineyards, with total loss of the agricultural sector estimated at426 million U.S. dollars, Russia's agriculture minister said on Monday.

    Alexei Gordeyev was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as telling President Vladimir Putin at a cabinet meeting that 3.5 to 4 million hectares of winter crops were destroyed this winter, accounting for 30 percent of the country's total. The Volga Federal District was the hardest hit, he added.

    A properly organized sowing campaign of spring crops could makeup for the damage, Gordeyev said.

    The minister said orchards and vineyards suffered severe damage."This is the worst winter in the past 28 years, since the winter of 1978-1979. We know already that about 10 percent of the vineyards have been destroyed," he said.

    In the Krasnodar Territory, 3,000 hectares of vineyard were destroyed. The whole crop of plums, apricots and berries was also destroyed.

    Putin has instructed the Agriculture Ministry to import fruit from Central Asian nations to prevent price hikes because of the loss of harvest in Russia.

    A weeks-long cold snap started to grip much of western Russia in mid-January, sending the mercury dipping sharply to as low as minus 30 Celsius in some areas. Enditem

    

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