MOSCOW, January 31 (Itar-Tass) - It is essential to harvest not less than 95 million tonnes of grain this year in order to keep stable prices of food, as well as to uphold the leading positions of Russia on the world food market, Nikolai Fyodorov, Russian Minister of Agriculture, said at a Business Luncheon at Rossiiskaya Gazeta here on Thursday.
For this objective to be attained, Fyodorov said, it is necessary to see to it that the farmers properly conduct a spring sowing campaign.
The Minister recalled that, following Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), direct support to agricultural producers is prohibited in accordance with the WTO rules. Therefore, "Russia has no right to grant privileges concerning fuel and mineral fertilizers", and that "it is senseless to argue this".
However, "a new mechanism has begun to operate already this year: to provide subsidies per hectare of cultivated land under crops". "For these purposes, 15,200 million rubles will be allocated from the Federal budget alone, counting out the regions' co-financing. Subsequently the amount of funds will be gradually increasing up to 37,000 million rubles by 2020," Fyodorov said.
"The Agriculture Ministry, in conjunction with the regions, has got to bring the money to agricultural producers before the spring-time fieldwork," the Minister promises. "We shall do everything depending on us to this end. However, it is also very important how the regions will fare".
Fyodorov also recalled that the fertilizing of winter crops in southern Russia begins as early as at the end of February. This is why the money for the agrarians must be remitted before March 15, he said.
"We must strengthen the role of Russia on the world food market and ensure a rise in the production of meat and milk. All this also requires good reserves of grain," the Minister pointed out.