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11 Apr, 2018 14:38

Russia expanding agricultural exports to lead global food market

Russia expanding agricultural exports to lead global food market

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he is proud of the domestic agro-industrial sector and has announced the expansion of agricultural exports.

Russia's dependence on imports has been successfully reduced, according to the prime minister, with the 2017 grain harvest exceeding 135 million tons.

“The Russian agribusiness sector is our pride. In 2017, agricultural production increased more than 20 percent for all types of farms when compared to 2012,” Medvedev told the State Duma on Wednesday.

Medvedev explained that “such rapid growth is the result of an unprecedented state support for the agro-industrial complex,” because “over six years, more than 1.2 trillion rubles ($18.62 billion) has been allocated from the federal budget.”

The prime minister noted the flexible tariff policy, another measure of state support. 

“We harvested a significant grain crop, which was difficult to transport by railroad, so we’ve introduced a preferential tariff for that. We are also building new terminals in ports, creating a network of wholesale distribution centers,” said Medvedev.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin said Russian exports of agricultural products and foodstuffs had grown 16-fold since 2000. Two years ago, Russia became the world leader in wheat exports.

Since the early 2000s, the country’s share of the world wheat market has quadrupled, from four to 16 percent.

The president said Russia will soon sell more produce abroad than it imports. To achieve the goal, authorities plan to develop infrastructure, broaden the railway network, and increase the capacity of seaports, elevators, and storage terminals.

Putin said that Russia should be aiming at exports of environmentally friendly and quality products. GMO has been banned in Russia since 2016. The Russian leader previously said he wants to make the country the world’s largest seller of GMO-free food.

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