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31 Mar, 2009 06:21

Government shelters farmers from crisis

Russia has been hit by the global financial crisis, but amid the gloom the agricultural industry is doing strong, thanks to state support.

The Mosselprom poultry factory outside Moscow is one of 300 Russian enterprises granted state support to help cope with the economic crisis.

It is the largest agro-industrial complex in Europe and the biggest agriculture investment project in Russia. Around five thousand tons of chicken are processed every month. Output has remained unchanged despite the economic crisis and may actually increase.

The company says there is no magic behind its success.

“First of all, [it’s] because we’re producing food, and people cannot live without food. We’ve mobilized all the resources we had and don’t feel the crisis at all,” Vyacheslav Pershin Mosselprom from Mosselprom’s slaughtering department said.

Agriculture has seen intense development over the past six years, since the Russian government decided it’s a priority sector, pumping huge investment into the industry.

Surging growth is expected to continue, with the government announcing it is increasing subsidies by half. Around $5.4 million is expected to be invested this year.

“State money has saturated agriculture. The volumes are not as big as in Europe or the US. But it’s been enough to help boost growth,” Deputy Chairman of the Agriculture Policy Committee at Federation Council Sergey Lisovsky said.

Agriculture, along with health care, education and housing, is one of the four so-called national projects. They were launched four years ago, with the goal of improving living standards in Russia. Now it is time to reap the harvest.