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Crimea expects record grain crop in 2019

MOSCOW, July 9 (Reuters) - The Crimean peninsula plans to harvest a record grain crop of 1.8 million tonnes in 2019, the regional agriculture ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Since then the region, under Western sanctions for the last five years, has found it difficult to export the bulk of its grain due to legal risks.

Crimea was hit by drought in 2018 when it harvested less than 1 million tonnes of grain compared with a previous record of 1.7 million tonnes in 2017.

"This year.. we plan to harvest a record crop - not less than 1.8 million tonnes of grains and pulses," regional agriculture minister Andrey Ryumshin was quoted as saying in the statement.

Crimean farmers have already harvested 1 million tonnes of grain before drying and cleaning, with an average yield of 3 tonnes per hectare, the ministry added.

The peninsula needs 260,000 tonnes of wheat for domestic consumption a year. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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