MOSCOW, October 8 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday will visit some villages in the Voronezh Region to acquaint himself with the state of affairs in dairy farming and outline ways to solve problems of the sector.
Medvedev will visit the farm EcoNivaAgro in the village of Zaluzhnoye, where he will examine production facilities and the dairy complex. Then, in the village of Sredny Ikorets, the premier will hold a meeting to discuss dairy cattle breeding development in Russia.
Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov, representatives of federal authorities, heads of regions, executives of agricultural companies and heads of farmers' unions are invited to the Voronezh Region.
EcoNiva is one of the leading agrarian holdings of Russia. The company has farms in the Voronezh, Kursk, Novosibirsk, Kaluga, Orenburg and Tyumen regions. The holding deals with cattle breading and grain farming and leguminous, forage and industrial crops.
A plant that will produce 30 t of natural dairy products a day is under construction in the Voronezh Region.
Dairy cattle breeding is one of the leading agricultural sectors, very important to ensure the country's food security. In recent years, the structure of milk production changed. In 1990, agricultural organizations accounted for 76% of all milk production, and the population's yards accounted for 24%. In 2012, organizations lost some positions, and the population and private farms produced more than half.
In 2012, Russia produced almost 32 million tonnes of milk, a little less than in 2008 and half less than in 1990 (55.72 million tonnes). The total amount of livestock was 21 million heads on January 1, 2013, the number six times lower than in the Soviet Union in 1991.
Domestic dairy products account for 80% of the Russian market. However, since 2008, the imports have increased. In January-August 2013 as compared to the same period of last year, import of dairy products to Russia increased 4.2% to about 4.56 million tonnes. The imports of butter, milk powder and cheese are growing.
Specialists are also concerned over other problems of the sector. For example, there are loan problems due to the high level of interest rates, debts for repayment of subsidies provided from the federal and regional budgets and short periods to subsidize interest rates for investment loans. Another problem is infrastructure development in rural areas.
In 2008-2012, state support for dairy cattle breeding amounted to 99.09 billion rubles, 411 new facilities began operating, and 883 dairy complexes and farms with modern technologies were modernized and reconstructed. The state continues to support the sector. The total volume of financing for regional programs to develop dairy cattle breeding in 2013 amounted to 29.7 billion rubles.
Beginning 2013, a new kind of state support is introduced for producers of dairy products - subsidies for one kg of sold milk. The sum from the federal budget in 2013 amounts to 9.5 billion rubles.
In connection with the increased prices for forage this year, additional 3.2 billion rubles are allocated from the federal budget.
Direct support for dairy cattle breeding in 2013 totaled 16.12 billion rubles - almost three times more than in 2012.
In accordance with the plan of the Russian government to adjust some economic sectors to the conditions of Russia's membership in the WTO, other steps are also taken - zero tax rates for profits of producers and preferential tax rates for breeders till the end of 2017. A list of agricultural products is prepared to ban purchases for state and municipal needs if the products are produced anywhere else, but not in the countries of the Common Economic Space (the RF, Belarus and Kazakhstan).