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Rice, cotton, wool, flax - priorities in Russia’s 2013-2020 agricultural plan

January 21, 2014, 19:28 UTC+3 21
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MOSCOW, January 21 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Agricultural Ministry would aim to stimulate rice, wool, cotton and flax production in its 2013-2020 state programme, the ministry told Itar-Tass following the agricultural committee’s meeting in the State Duma.

The ministry was planning to present the programme in a revised form to the government during the first six months of 2014, Deputy Minister Dmitry Yuriev told the meeting. The adjustments followed the President’s and Prime Minister’s instructions and revision of the federal budget.

The adjustments add rice, wool, flax and cotton affiliated to the textile production programme to the section about support for economically important regional programmes. Since the rice sector needs a compensation for revenue lost because of Russia’s joining the WTO, the ministry is planning to partly indemnify agricultural expenses per tonne of produced rice. Rice industry’s recovery in Russia after the collapse in 90s started in 2005. Customs protection against cheap imports that now exceeds 1 million tonnes a year is largely the reason.

Amendments will also concern the dairy section, where terms are to be prolonged to fifteen years for subsidies of investment loans aimed to develop dairy stock farming. Expenses for interests on the loans in an amount of the refinancing rate are to be compensated from the federal budget. The state programme also introduces new kinds of subsidies amid rising fodder prices and suggests grants to agricultural cooperatives for the development of infrastructure.

The announced changes were not the final edition, as the ministry was now preparing a national report about state programme implementation in 2013, Yuriev said, in that the ministry would analyse the efficiency of supporting measures and federal budget spending and then suggest relevant amendments.

As a result of the programme worth a total of 2.2 trillion roubles ($66 billion), including financing from regional budgets, Russia should become entirely self-reliant in meat, milk and vegetables, and increase agricultural produce in 2020 as compared to 2012 by 20.8 percent, and food - by 35 percent, while investments in agricultural fixed assets should grow at a pace of 4.5 percent a year.

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