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RUSSIA`S BAN ON GRAIN EXPORTS TAKES EFFECT AS WILDFIRES RAGE

Baku, August 16 (AZERTAC). Russian ban on grain exports took effect Sunday as at least 500 fires raged across the country, according to VOA. Moscow put a halt to the exports because of low yields caused by the wildfires, record heat and drought.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin`s ban on grain exports took effect Sunday, and it is expected to continue through the end of the year. The banned items include wheat, wheat flour, rye and corn, among other things.

The Kremlin says the move is part of the government`s attempt to keep down the prices of basic foodstuffs amid the country`s worst drought on record. Some analysts say the ban is also an attempt by the government to quell the possibility of domestic unrest because of soaring prices.

Last year, Russia was the world`s third largest wheat producer with a harvest of nearly 100 million tons. But this year that number is expected to be about 25 percent lower.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says about one quarter of the country`s crops have dried up due to the drought, leaving many farmers are on the verge of bankruptcy.

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