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Minister: Russian agribusiness to remain competitive if food embargo canceled

May 25, 2016, 20:43 UTC+3

Russia's agriculture minister says the agribusiness in the country will remain competitive in case of food embargo cancellation, Russia already managed to produce fairly competitive foods

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© AP Photo/Adel Hana

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. The Russian agribusiness will remain competitive in case of food embargo cancellation, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said on Wednesday.

"We probably had an illusion some time ago that we will go to the bad if sanctions are lifted [and Russia cancels its food embargo against Western nations - TASS]. I think it is not so; we already managed to produce fairly competitive foods," Tkachev said.

There is "no room in Russia" for European meat because Russian agricultural producers are currently making higher quality and cheaper meat products and consumers got accustomed to the domestic meat, the minister added.

Russia may reach the grain harvest of 120-130 mln tonnes in 10 years, the minister added. 

"This [grain harvest outlook of 106 mln tonnes for 2016] is not the ceiling. We may achieve 120-130 mln tonnes in ten years," the minister said.

 Wheat export duty is a useful tool to be applied in case of necessity, the minister went on. 

"If we feel it is harmful and damaging to agricultural producers, we will definitely abolish it. On the other part, if we see the market has not yet been balanced and the recession continues, it’s better to have it," Tkachev said.

The duty limits the grain price hike, the minister said. "Let such a tool be available with the state and the government. Nobody is misusing it," he added.

Grain harvesting will grow on account of using new agricultural machinery, staff quality improvement and better soil fertility, Tkachev added.

Russia’s grain harvest outlook was increased from 104 to 106 mln tonnes in 2016, the minister said earlier on Wednesday.

"This year, we plan to harvest at least 106 tonnes of grain," he said, adding that there is "great potential this year, the prospects of the harvest are quite decent."

The minister noted that this forecast takes into account opinions of experts, agronomists, regional surveys.

According to earlier forecast of the Agriculture Ministry, grain harvest will amount to at least 104 mln tonnes.

At the end of 2015, grain harvest in Russia totaled 104.8 mln tonnes. In particular, wheat harvest in 2015 increased by almost 4% and amounted to about 62 mln tonnes. Last year, Russia has reached record levels in harvest of maize (13.2 mln tonnes), rice (1.1 mln tonnes), soybeans (2.7 mln tonnes) and buckwheat (900,000 tonnes).

The Ministry of Agriculture forecasts grain exports in the current agricultural year in the amount of 33 mln tonnes.

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