MOSCOW, January 16 (Itar-Tass) - Minister of Agriculture Nikolai Fyodorov believes that a pricerise on staple foods in Russia this year must be approximately at the same level as that last year -- 7 percent.
"According to the preliminary results of 2012, the index of consumer prices of foodstuffs, counting out alcoholic drinks, was 106.7 percent," Fyodorov said in an interview published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Wednesday. "So, we do not forecast a substantial increase in prices this year either, provided there is no 'abuse of alcohol' ".
The share of import of agricultural resources in 2012, according to the Minister, fluctuated from four percent for sugar to almost 25 percent for meat and meat products. Fyodorov is confident that "Russia can provide itself with staple foods under any conditions. At the same time demand for durum wheat, strong varieties of wheat, certain rice varieties, and early potato will still be partially met resultant of imports".
"In so doing we expect to approach closely the full provision of the internal market with domestically produced food in the coming four to five years," the Agriculture Minister said.
He also emphasized that the new conditions brought about following Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, "prompt the need for a radical reforming of the agrarian sector: we must learn to engage in competition in a modern and worthy manner, cardinally to renew the agrarian production basis, and devote much more attention to the social infrastructure development in the countryside".
"We can and will do that," Fyodorov maintains.