MOSCOW/CARACAS, June 27 (Reuters) - Russian state-controlled grain trader United Grain Company will supply 300,000 tonnes of Russian wheat to Venezuela in the 2017/18 marketing year, which starts on July 1, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Venezuelans have in recent years had to line up to buy bread or eat something else in the face of its soaring cost.
The supply deal was agreed during a telephone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro on May 18, the trader added.
Russia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, harvested a record wheat crop in 2016 and carries huge stockpiles days before the start of the new season, with crop prospects for this year looking also good.
The agreement was signed between a subsidiary of the United Grain Company and Venezuela’s trading corporation CORPOVEX on June 19, the Russian company added.
The first shipment is expected to arrive in Venezuela in August, it said. It did not disclose the size of the cargo.
United Grain Company told Reuters the supplies were not humanitarian aid, but commercial deals reached with Venezuela. The statement did not disclose how payment would be made.
Some 80 percent of Venezuela’s bakeries say they have no available stocks of wheat, which is not grown in significant quantities in the country’s tropical climate.
They add government price controls prevent them from raising the price of fresh-baked loaves to compensate for rising flour costs.
Four bakers in March were arrested on charges of illegally baking pastries such as brownies, which are not subject to price controls.
The government of Maduro during the same month ordered inspectors to monitor some 800 bakeries in the capital Caracas, two of which were expropriated and put in the hands of local food distribution committees backed by the government. (Reporting by Polina Devitt in Moscow and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas; editing by David Evans)