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On the backdrop of a severe drought, Moldovan President promises strict control over the prices of bread

President Vladimir Voronin said on July 21 that Moldova intends to call for international assistance to cope with the effects of a severe drought. Some 80 percent of Moldova's farmland has been affected by three dry months. This follows a relatively dry autumn and winter.

The president predicted that humanitarian supplies of grain will be needed, called for a modernization of the country's Soviet-era irrigation system, asked parliament to lift VAT and import tariffs on cereal crops and promised strict control over the prices of bread.

The Agriculture Ministry says losses already exceed $80 million, and experts quoted by the news agency IPN on July 23 predicted a "catastrophic" harvest.