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Agriculture Prepared For Crisis Better Than Industry - Medvedev


Agriculture in Russia turned out to be better prepared for the crisis than industry, said President Dmitry Medvedev in a conversation with Channel One Current Affairs Programme Anchor Kirill Kleimenov. The programme that will be aired on Sunday, is devoted to the topic of agricultural production and the life in rural areas.

“Overall, we prepared quite well to take our agriculture sector to a new level,” the head of state noted. “Of course we are still far from having carried out all of our plans. But implementation of the Agriculture National Project and a number of other programmes in the sector means that, surprising though it may sound, agriculture has turned out better prepared to meet the crisis than the industrial sector.”

According to Medvedev, ”the large-scale financial support the sector received, and the fact that we managed to carry out a number of organisational measures made this possible”. “So, I would not say that agriculture is living on strict rations at the moment,” the president said. “On the contrary, the state agricultural development programme, approved before the crisis began, is still being implemented. We have not changed it or cut back its funding and it is being implemented in full.”

“Total budget funding of agriculture is rising, not decreasing. This year it will come to 183 billion roubles,” Medvedev emphasised. “This is decent money. We are spending this money in a number of different areas. We are supporting key areas such as the livestock sector, crop growing and diary production, and we are also spending some of the money on carrying out necessary transformations in a number of areas.”

The president pointed at the situation with loans as one of the main problems. “In the industrial sector we have been forced to come up with new schemes and ideas, and they have not always all worked as we hoped, unfortunately. But in agriculture the mechanisms are already in place and have been tried and tested through the Agriculture National Project,” the Russian president said.

“What we are doing here is to provide subsidised loans for the most important projects in the sector, in particular in the livestock and dairy production sectors. In other words, we subsidise the loans by paying the interest in full.

The president noted that Russia continued to develop earlier launched major projects, including those in livestock breeding. “This year, we will spend a considerable amount of money ensuring that the livestock and dairy projects that had begun will be funded through to their completion,” Medvedev assured.

“We have carried out grain purchases. We are now one of the world leaders in terms of grain production, and this is a good result that has been achieved over these last years,” the Russian leader underlined. “Russia was always a major grain producing country, and now we have restored our leading place on this market. We carried out intervention on the market at the start of the year and bought up around 10 million tonnes of grain. This also represented important support for the agriculture sector."

Therefore, Medvedev believes it would be inaccurate to suggest that financing for the sector’s development or support for rural areas has dried up. “On the contrary, to go even further, unlike industrial production, agricultural production is growing rather than falling. This is a good result,” the president stressed.

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