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Russian farmers urged to buy fuel at commodity exchanges

      RBC, 03.03.2009, Moscow 12:58:20.Fuel purchasing for agricultural producers should be carried out through special fuel exchanges, Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov told a spring sowing campaign meeting in Moscow today. "A pilot project has been planned this year to provide the agribusiness sector with fuel through a commodity exchange," he said.

      Zubkov reiterated that the matter of adequately priced fuel supplies was previously reviewed at a meeting involving the leading fuel companies and the management of the St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (SPIMEX). In the first deputy PM's opinion, the main problem on this market is that goods are supplied through multiple middlemen. A commodity exchange, on the other hand, is a more transparent mechanism, while fair pricing helps smooth out seasonal fuel price jumps, Zubkov noted. According to the official, grain exchanges have been in operation since August 2008, with 1,800 agricultural producers from 38 regions already accredited to take part in trading, and with some 7.5m tonnes of grain already purchased through exchanges according to the most recent data for March 2009.

      The first deputy PM also complained that the sowing campaign was impeded by a lack of affordable credit and called on banks' managements to see to the matter and ensure that reasonably priced loans become available to farmers.

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