MOSCOW, RUSSIA — The Russian agriculture ministry is considering a non-tariff quota for grain exports of 20 million tonnes from January to June, Reuters reported.

The quota would be removed during the most active part of the season for trading.

The announcement comes after comments last month by the ministry that Russia was looking for a new way to restrict grain exports at the level of its exportable surplus, Reuters said.

Food security is a priority for the ministry so it’s important that favorable external conditions do not lead to grain shortages on the domestic market, the ministry said.

Grain exports are down 18% this season compared to a year ago and export prices for wheat are at this season’s high, the news agency said.

The nation exported 25 million tonnes of grain from July through December, the first half of the 2019-20 marketing season. It is expected to export a total of 45 million tonnes.