Razgulay chief calls for increased support for Russian agriculture

The head of Russia's largest listed agricultural company has demanded the Kremlin match foreign support for farmers.

In an interview with RT Business, top grain and sugar producer Razgulay admitted the collapse in global grain prices has already forced the firm to cut its investment programme.

Aleksandr Soldatov began by claiming rival US and EU farmers receive unfair state benefits.

“Unlike US and EU farmers our investments aren't subsidized, we get no state credits for each harvested ton – nothing at all.  Grain purchases by the government must be stepped up. The state's bought a million tons of grain, from a total harvest of 100 million tons. We'd like to see greater intervention, especially in feed and class 4 wheat where there's oversupply. To ease the pressure on the Russian grain market the government should buy several million tons more. Along with providing subsidies for export, this would make export worthwhile.”

RT: What's happened to Razgulay's cost and investment programme in the crisis?

“We've revised our investment programme. We've frozen plans to build five new Russian grain silos, and cut the salaries of all our management. Our promise to investors to buy 600,000 hectares of new land by Christmas have been put back to the end of 2009.”
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