KIEV, UKRAINE and MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych said their nations will lift their ban on grain exports on July 1.

Russia banned exports of wheat, barley, rye, corn and flour in August 2010 after a drought and heat wave cut the nation’s grain production by 37%. Spring planting this year was 10% higher than last year at 24 million hectares, the winter wheat harvest is progressing well and there is every reason to believe there will be a good grain harvest this year, according to First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.

Zubkov said the nation’s intervention fund has more than 6 million tonnes of grain, and if prices begin to grow, customs and tariff regulations can be applied.

Putin directed the agriculture ministry and other ministries and financial institutions to provide all the necessary support to agricultural producers.

Ukraine is forecasting a 15% increase in its harvest to 45 million tonnes. This will allow for 20 million tonnes of grain to be exported in the marketing year that starts July 1. Yanukovych said in an interview on May 26 that he planned on signing legislation into law that will replace export quotas on corn, wheat and barley set in October 2010 with duties. He said the duties may be cut in 2012. Corn export quotas ended May 5.