Russia has imposed a ban onwheat and other grain exports until the end of the year after a severe drought and an outbreak of wildfires destroyed one-third of the harvest and ravaged agricultural land - sparking fears of increased costs and food shortages.

An estimated 10 million hectares of agricultural land has been devastated by the fires following the worst heatwave in Russian history.

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Russia is one of the world's biggest producers of wheat, barley and rye.

As a result of the ban, world wheat prices have rocketed to a two-year high and there are worries about a crisis in global food supplies.

The type of wheat Russia produces is best suited to making unleavened bread, so much of its wheat is imported to the Middle East. Egypt is its largest market, followed by Turkey, Syria, Iran and Libya.

In addition to affecting the cost of such food staples as bread, a shortage or hike in the price of grain is expected to have a knock-on effect across several European industries.

Al Jazeera's Neave Barker reports from Moscow.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies