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Last Updated:[08-02-2010 04:18:59 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Russia to be Less Reliant on Food Imports

tradenews According to RIA Novosti, the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev has approved a plan to boost domestic food production and reduce the country's dependence on imports. Russia plans to enhance its food production through a new food policy which is expected to produce up to 95 percent of domestic grain needs followed by 80 percent of sugar and vegetable oil, meat and meat products to 85 percent, milk and dairy products to 90 percent and fish products to 80 percent.

During the Soviet era, Russia was a gross grain importer and over the last few years the country has grown as the largest grain exporter. Through the new food policy Russia seemed to have set an achievable target as grain exports to other countries are expected to reach 38mn tons by 2015.

Russia during the World Grain Forum in June, 2009 had initiated a food security tie up with the largest wheat consuming states such as India, China and Turkey to build wheat reserve stocks as well as to cushion future price slides, which has been faced by Russian farmers today. Despite the second-best year for exports and increasing demand from livestock farmers, grain prices still remain low on account of high domestic grain inventory.

Viktor Zubkov, the first Deputy Prime Minister of Russia during the Forum had urged foreign investors to develop the 20mn hectares of unused arable land in Russia. The country’s wheat production has crossed 65mn tons, and has set eyes at producing 100mn tons this year despite sinking wheat prices.

In a last week’s report by RIA Novosti, it stated meat production in Russia was also witnessing significant growth over the past few years. Agriculture Minister Elena Skrynnik while she met Medvedev informed domestic meat production grew 14 percent to 3.3mn tons last year, reducing imports by 20 percent.

Similarly, though Russia is short of poultry production, the recent ban on the US poultry is intended to stimulate domestic poultry production. Russia banned imports of the US chlorine-treated poultry as of 1 January on non-compliance to country’s safety standards, a decision likely to hike domestic poultry prices.

By Jose Roy

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