MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia plans to release about 75,000 tonnes from its government stockpile to the domestic market during the first quarter of 2021, state trader United Grain Company told Reuters on Jan. 14.

Sales will begin on Jan. 20, Reuters reported.

Russia, perennially among the world’s largest wheat exporters, has seen its state grain inventories depleted in recent months as demand for grain-based products have risen sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic, which began 11 months ago.

Because of the high demand for grains, domestic food prices have risen, leading Russia to issue an export quota and tax on wheat in an attempt to curb prices.

Interfax news agency reported recently that there are about 200,000 tonnes of grain in the Russian government’s stockpile.