A Hungry Moscow Demands
Food Tribute From America
News of a deepening food crisis has been emerging from the Soviet Union and its empire for the past year and a half, even in official statistics from Moscow. By summer of 1988, sugar, fruit, and vegetables were in short supply throughout the Russian Republic, and meat was strictly rationed.
Even in the traditional food-surplus regions of the Transcaucasus and in the Ukraine, food supplies were inadequate. In the 1989/90 year, the Soviet Union will require at least 250 million tons of grain, but will produce only 195 million tons, and be able to harvest and transport only 137 million tons to the point of consumption before it spoils.
Meanwhile, as U.S. grain stocks collapse, Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter has promised Moscow grain exports to help make up the shortfall. The U.S.A. is expected to export more than 25 million metric tons of grain to the Soviets during October 1989 to September 1990 U.S.-Soviet trade year. As the accompanying graphs show, the U.S. supplies the lion's share of Moscow's grain imports, U.S.S.R. grain imports from the United States increased by 80% during the last half of 1988, and U.S. wheat sales to Red China increased more than five-fold this year over last, while China's domestic production of grain is falling.
It should be noted that the U.S. taxpayer is underwriting these grain shipments to the Soviets and China, through the Export Enhancement Program (EEP). Under the EEP in 1987, the U.S.A. spent $315 million subsidizing grain sales to Moscow, as compared to a meager $120 million for food relief here at home.