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Russia’s Grain Producers Urge Moratorium on Collection of Debts

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Russia’s Grain Producers’ Union urged the government to help farmers who are struggling to repay bank loans ahead of spring grains sowing.

The union proposed a moratorium on debt collection by creditors from farms, amendments to bankruptcy procedures and deferral of loans and interest rate payments.

The objective isn’t to forgive debts owed by farmers, “but to give them the possibility to come out of this situation,” Pavel Skurikhin, the union’s president, said in an e-mailed statement today. “A new effective owner doesn’t always appear to replace the bankrupted farm, which is a direct threat to grain production and the country’s food safety.”

The debt burden on Russian agriculture was 1.6 trillion rubles ($52 billion) in 2011, with most extended loan obligations due in 2012 and 2013, according to Agriculture Ministry data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow at msysoyeva@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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