Support for agricultural development in Russia at the federal government level will continue, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at his annual major press conference.
“Agriculture has long been a national project. Size of supports currently measures in the hundreds of billions of rubles. Support will be extended both for large farms and throughout all smaller segments of agriculture” he said.
Putin also noted that he was not concerned with a slowdown in agricultural production, as domestic agricultural producers often encounter difficult conditions.
“In terms of a slowdown in growth, yes, it exists. Does it bother us? No, it doesn’t. We ourselves are not working in greenhouse conditions at all – our agricultural producers are working in difficult circumstances” the President said.
According to him, greater competition is developing on the domestic market, an important component for growth in this sector of the economy. External competition is also increasing, said Putin.
“Already some time ago, a number of countries – far from all – imposed sanctions against us, and we never took countermeasures against those states in response. Then we imposed sanctions against EU countries, the US, and others who sanctioned us at the USA’s request. But the vast majority of countries have not taken part. And they continue to supply products to our market; competition remains” Putin said.
As the head of state noted, Russian exports of agricultural products in 2018 are expected to reach $25 billion, in comparison to $20 billion in 2017.
“We, by the way, had exports of $20 billion last year, and this year will have $25 billion. These are figures that never before were even imaginable. We have $16 billion in arms exports, $25 billion in agricultural production exports” he said.
Putin also noted the necessity of increasing competitiveness in the industry and of improving infrastructure in order to raise exports. “We will support infrastructure development for agriculture and agricultural exports. And over the next few years, about 400 billion rubles have been specifically allocated to this. This includes development of ports, roads, and so on – financial support of exports. We need to improve our competitiveness. Of course, we also need to develop workers for the industry, including in the villages” he explained.
He also stressed the necessity of increasing exports in goods involving a high degree of reprocessing, such as meat, and of addressing issues related to the social development of villages. “The programme of social development of the village will also be preserved” he added.
The President recalled that last year recorded an historical grain harvest record of 135,5 million tonnes. “This is the main indicator that weighs upon statistical reporting. This year, in connection with adverse weather conditions and emergency situations in 27 regions of the country, the harvest was a bit smaller – 110,5 million tonnes” he said.
Per Putin, this is still the third largest harvest over the past 25 years. “Keeping in mind last year’s reserves, we have secured and even increased the volume of potential export to 52,5 million tonnes. We will fulfil all of our obligations and contracts – there are no adverse concerns” he noted.
Data of the Ministry of Agriculture
Earlier, Russian Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev mentioned that total volume of Russian agricultural exports in 2018 could achieve as much as $26 billion. On 19th December, Rosstat noted that the total harvest of grain in Russia in 2018 in net weight terms achieved 112,8 million tonnes. Forecasts by the Ministry of Agriculture for grain export under current conditions (July 2018 – June 2019) stand at 38 – 39 million tonnes.