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Sanctions against Russia pose threat to food security - agriculture chief

August 07, 2014, 15:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The minister said that the sanctions also pose a threat to the national economic security and are an example of an unfair competitiveness

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© ITAR-TASS / Mikhail Metzel

MOSCOW, August 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Western sanctions recently imposed against Russia over its stance in regard to neighboring Ukraine pose a direct threat to the national food security, the Russian agriculture minister said on Thursday.

“I would say without exaggerations that sanctions in regard to main institutions of the Russian agricultural sector development in fact mean for Russia and Russian consumers a posing threat to the food security,” Nikolai Fyodorov said.

The minister said that the sanctions also pose a threat to the national economic security and are an example of an unfair competitiveness.

“They are an example of unfair techniques used in fight with competitors,” he said.

Sanctions will trigger the growth of agricultural production in Russia, the Russian agriculture minister told journalists on Thursday.

"In the next 1.5 years the production volume will reach 281 billion roubles" the minister, Nikolai Fyodorov, said.

"Evaluating the resources for the development of agriculture, experts said that an additional growth of agricultural production in Russia would be automatically ensured for reasons of declining imports, and it might reach the volume estimated at 281 billion roubles within 1.5 years," Fyodorov said.

He said he did not see prospects for expanding a list of farming products to which Russian sanctions apply.

“More likely, it [the list] will not be expanded. It may be narrowed down,” he said.

In response to Western sanctions, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday to ban for one year the imports of agricultural, raw and food products from the countries, which imposed sanctions against Russia.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced on Thursday that the Russian government imposed a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

"The government is ready to revise the one-year term of the imposed measures if the situation changes," Medvedev said, who signed a relevant governmental decree on Thursday.

Infographics Economical sanctions against Russia

Economical sanctions against Russia

The USA, EU, Canada and Australia have introduced sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
The list of the banned products includes cattle meat (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), pork (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), poultry meat and all poultry edible by-products, salted meat, pickled meat, dried meat, smoked meat, fish and shell fish, clams and other water invertebrates, milk and dairy products, vegetables, edible roots and tuber crops, fruits and nuts, sausage and analogous meat products, meat by-products or blood, as well as products made of them, ready-to-eat products including cheeses and cottage-cheese based on vegetable fats.

The United States and the European Union, as well as Japan introduced a range of sanctions against Russia after Crimea’s merger with the country and over Moscow’s alleged involvement in armed standoff in Ukraine’s southeast.

Moscow repeatedly rejected the threats of broader sanctions saying the language of penalties is counterproductive and will strike back at Western countries.

Russia mulls $3.8 billion additional support for agribusiness

Russia’s agribusiness may receive an additional 137 billion rubles ($3.8 billion) from the state in the next three-four years to boost output and capture a larger share on the domestic market, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said on Thursday.

The minister said the government’s additional financial support for agribusiness was not related to western sanctions imposed on Russia over its stance on Ukraine.

“I can say that the county’s leadership politically and organizationally understands and supports the need for additional financial injections into the agrarian sector, despite the emergence of vacant niches on the market [due to Russia’s ban on some food imports in response to western sanctions],” the minister said.

 Russian agribusiness has always asked the government to restrict agricultural imports, the minister said.

“A forced restriction of imports is a strong support and there will be less competition on the market so far, which will create favorable conditions for the development of domestic agribusiness,” the minister said.

The Russian Agriculture Ministry has already submitted a new draft agricultural program to the government and this document is currently at the stage of approval, the minister said.

The draft urges the Russian authorities to move more rapidly to attaining the threshold levels prescribed by the country’s Food Security Doctrine, the minister said.

Russia’s agribusiness adequately supplies the country with grain, vegetable oil, sugar and potatoes in terms of food security, the minister said.

“The provision with fish and water bio-resources is close to threshold levels and we are progressing well in ensuring food security for meat and meat products,” the minister said.

“Things are worse for the provision with milk and dairy products,” the minister said.

The Agriculture Ministry has analyzed these requirements to submit relevant proposals to the government, the minister added.

There are no grounds to change significantly the ministry’s forecasts for Russia’s grain exports, which are expected to reach 25 million tonnes in 2014/15 marketing year, Fyodorov said.

Neither does Russia fear any ban on its grain exports from Western countries, he added. The largest importers of Russian wheat are the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the minister said.

“These are friendly states,” he said, adding that the recent ban will hit the countries which had imposed sanctions on Russia.

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