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The total area under the crop of 1998 ineconomies of all categories reduced by about 6% compared with 1997 or by almost20% since 1992 (see Table2.10). The areas under the fodder crops, flax, andsugar beet continue diminishing. After the two-year recession, the areas undersunflower grew significantly (by 16%) again. According to the statistics, thearea under the grain crops reduced, as well. However, the experts of the grainmarket think that large areas under the grain crops in the main grain regionswere hidden.

As a result, the certain shifts took placein the structure of the areas under crops (see Fig.2). The share of the areasunder the sunflower and wheat grew visibly. At the same time, the share of theareas under the fodder crops and sugar beet reduced.

According to the RF State Committee onstatistics (Goskomstat), in 1998, the gross grain harvest was 47.8millionMTin the weight after treatment. However, the independent experts speak of the10million to 50millionMT of grain not accounted for in the officialstatistics The reduction of the grain harvest was conditioned, mainly, by thesummer destruction of the grain crops in large areas and decrease of theproductivity by 43.0%. Last year, the gross harvest of the sunflower seedsincreased by 5.9%. This was due only to the expansion of the areas under thiscrop, because the productivity of the sunflower was diminishing.

Table 2.10

Areas under main crops in Russia, thousandhectares

1992

1995

1996

1997

1998

1998, % of1997

1998, % of 1992

Total area under crops

114.6

102.5

99.6

96.6

91.6

94.8

79.9

Grain crops

61.9

54.7

53.4

53.6

50.7

94.6

81.9

Including wheat

24.3

23.9

25.7

26.1

26.0

99.6

107.0

Sunflower

2.9

4.1

3.9

3.6

4.2

116.7

144.8

Sugar beet

1.4

1.1

1.1

0.9

0.8

88.9

57.1

Long-stalked flax

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.1

100.0

33.3

Potatoes

3.4

3.4

3.4

3.4

3.3

97.1

97.1

Vegetables

0.7

0.8

0.7

0.7

0.7

100.0

100.0

Fodder crops

42.5

37.1

35.6

33.3

30.1

90.4

70.8

Source: Russian State Committee onstatistics (Goskomstat).

Fig. 2.9

Structure of areas under crops in Russia,%

Source: Areas under crops in RussianFederation in 1988, Russian State Committee on statistics(Goskomstat).

Table 2.11

Gross harvest of main crops in Russia,million. MT

1992

1995

1996

1997

1998

Grain (weight aftertreatment

106.9

63.4

69.3

88.6

47.8

Sugar beet(factory)

25.5

19.1

16.2

13.9

10.8

Sunflower

3.1

4.2

2.8

2.8

3.0

Potatoes

38.3

39.9

38.7

37

31.3

Vegetables

10.0

11.3

10.7

11.1

10.5

Source: Russian State Committee onstatistics (Goskomstat).

In 1998, the production of the potatoesreduced by 15% compared with 1997; it was on the level a little higher thanthat of 1990. As this culture is produced almost exclusively by the privatefarms, the serious underestimate is possible. Besides, the private sectorensures the higher level of storage of the potatoes than the former statestructures; hence, the 1990 level covers quite well the needs of the country inthis produce.

Animals breeding

Last year, the total number of almost allthe livestock continued reducing. (see Table2.12). The causes remained thesame: the producers lack the circulating assets, the expenditures on keepingthe livestock are high, and the purchase prices remain low. Nevertheless, themeat production reduction rates somehow lowered: they were 5% against the 9.3%of 1997. However, while, during the last years, the meat production had beenshowing the steady tendency to decline, the production of the milk begangrowing, at the beginning of 1998, due to the higher yields. This was theresult of the better provision of the animals with fodder during the winter of1997-1998. However, already to the end of the year, the situation with thefodder base worsened. This resulted in the lower milk yields, and, hence, thedrop of the milk production volumes.

Fig. 2.10

Rates of reduction of livestock

Source: Russian State Committee onstatistics (Goskomstat).

Table 2.13

Production of main animal breeding produce,millionMT

1996

1997

1998

Meat (cattle and poultry forslaughter, slaughter mass)

5.3

4,9

4,6

Milk

35,7

34,1

33,2

Eggs

31,9

32,2

32,6

Source: RF Ministry of agriculture andfood

In 1998, the agrarian entities saw thetendency to the growth of productivity: by 8% for the milk yield per cow, by 1%for the eggs yield per hen, by 3% for the yield of the calves, and by 10% forthe yield of the piglets; the loss of cattle reduced.

The growth in the poultry breeding attractsattention: it was ensured, mainly, by the growth of production in the largeeconomies.

Structure of agrarian production

Just as in the previous years, the agrarianenterprises remain the main producers of the grain and industrial crops. Theyproduce the main shares of the grain, sugar beet (factory one), and sunflower(see Fig.2.11).

Fig. 2.11

Structure of production of main produce ofplant growing by categories of economies

Source: Russian State Committee onstatistics (Goskomstat).

However, in the grain production, the shareof the private farms grew somehow; the share of the private households grew ina lesser extent. Asimilar, not very serious, redistribution of productionoccurred for the sunflower and sugar beet.

In the production of the potatoes, theprivate households continue ensuring over 90% of the produce, though in 1998the share of the agrarian enterprises grew a little.

Analyzing the structure of the livestock,one can notice that the slower reduction of it in the households of populationcompared with the agrarian enterprises during several years resulted in thegrown share of the livestock in the households of population in the totalnumber of livestock.

Fig. 2.12

Distribution of livestock by categories ofeconomies

Source: Russian State Committee onstatistics (Goskomstat).

Financial situation of agrarianproducers

According to the official data, in 1998,the share of the profitless economies grew up to 89% (82% as of the end of1997). Of the main agrarian produce, only the sale of the sunflower, potatoes,vegetables, and eggs stays profitable. For the first time, the production ofthe grain crops became profitless. The latter seems suspicious: at such a poorcrop and on the background of the visible growth of prices on the other crops,the grain prices remain stable enough. All this supports the expressed abovesuspicions in the significant concealment of the real production of the grainand the absence of the competent monitoring of the real grainprices.

In the previous review of the IET, we havesupposed the improvement of the price ratio for the agrarian economy under theeffect of the crisis. The 1998 data fully confirmed this supposal: afterAugust, the growth rate of the prices on the resources for the agrarian economybegan slowing down compared with the growth rate of the purchase prices on theagrarian produce (see Fig.2.13). The better conditions of exchange for theagrarian sector mean the better financial conditions of the production. Inthese conditions, the accumulated accounts payable will animate the secret andbarter deals in the agrarian economy and the propagation of the settlementarrangements by-passing the bank accounts. Already in 1998, not more than 10%to 20% of the settlements passed by the bank accounts of the agrarianenterprises.

Fig. 2.13

Parity of prices on agrarian produce andresources for agrarian economy (price indexes,December1997=100%)

Source: RF Ministry of agriculture andfood

Production of means of production

The decline in the industries producing theresources for the agrarian production has been continuing.

In the first and third quarters of 1998,compared with 1997, the growth of production of the mineral fertilizers wasobserved. However, during the year in whole, the insignificant decrease ofproduction took place (see Table2.14).

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