Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last week banned all exports of grain after millions of acres of wheat withered in a severe drought driving up prices around the world and pushing them to their highest level in two years in the United States.
Putin said the ban was necessary to curb rising food prices in the country as Russia is suffering from the worst heat wave since record keeping began there more than 130 years ago.
[Interview : Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister] "In connection with abnormally high temperature and drought, I think it is advisable to introduce a temporary ban on the export from Russia of grain and other agriculture products made from grain. Yes, we have enough reserves -- 9.5 million tonnes -- but we must not allow a rise of food prices in Russia, retain the livestock count and form reserves for next year. As the people say, building up stock is never redundant."
The drought has forced the country's agriculture ministry to slash its grain forecast from 90 million tons to between 70 and 75 million tons.
Wheat prices have soared by about 90 percent since June because of the drought in Russia and parts of the European Union and now the ban has pushed prices even higher.
Exports from Ukraine, another major exporter are down sharply this year as well.
Ukraine is the sixth largest wheat producer in the world… and is also planning to follow suit as a frosty winter followed by scorching summer heat have devastated the country's agricultural yields.
It will make a final decision on its wheat crops on August 18th.
Russia's agricultural output, once the victim of chronic shortages during the Soviet era because of bureaucracy and failed farm policies had grown as the country privatized old collective farms and gained force as a food exporter.
But this summer's persistent drought accompanied by weeks of record heat has filled the air around Moscow with haze and smoke and left the rich soils of country's Black Earth growing region parched.
Pragya Saini, Arirang News