MOSCOW, November 14, 3:22 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s gross grain harvest will stand at 90 million tonnes in 2013. The country’s grain export potential, taking in account carry-over grain reserves, is estimated at 20 million tonnes, Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov told a “Governmental Hour” meeting at the State Duma lower parliament house on Wednesday.
“The analysis of the situation in the sector shows that Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) has no impact on the production dynamics, unlike the weather conditions,” Fedorov said. In his words, Russia’s agricultural production will go up by five percent in 2013 on the preceding year. However, the country’s milk output is expected to drop by three percent, which will need additional support measures to the sector.
The minister expressed confidence that before the yearend, the government would submit to the State Duma lower parliament house a draft law geared to render state assistance not only to farmers, but also to food processing organizations. “It is necessary to support production of high-quality end products,” he said.
At the same time, the ministry admitted big debts of agricultural organizations. “There is no reason to hope that all debts will be written off from everyone,” the minister said, adding that the ministry planned to show a differentiated approach to those agrarians, who suffered losses from floods of droughts, or any other serious reasons.
While rendering assistance to agricultural organizations, it is necessary to take into account reasonability of their spending, he noted. “For instance, while building facilities, some included in their construction balance ‘gold toilet’ costs,” the minister said. In his words, the funds allocated in 2013 to additional capitalization of the Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank) and the Russian Agricultural Leasing Company (Rosagrolizing) may be used to extend loans to those, who found themselves in a problem situation.
The agriculture minister said he guaranteed that food prices would go up slower than in other sectors upon results of the year. “Food inflation will be below the general inflation. We can guarantee this, taking into account this year’s harvest,” Fedorov said.