The agenda includes the implementation of the State Programme for Agricultural Development in 2021, results of the engineering school projects competition, an increase in the maximum lump-sum payment under a social contract, support for economic growth centres in the Far East, and simplification of procedures in the sphere of land use.
Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev’s report on the results of the 2021 implementation of the State Programme for the Development of Agriculture and Regulation of the Markets of Agricultural Projects, Raw Materials and Food
Excerpts from the transcript:
I would like to say a few words about the decisions we have adopted before getting down to the agenda.
The President has announced the Decade of Science and Technology in Russia. The task is to attract talented young people to the sphere of research and development, and to involve specialists in this area in achieving the most important goals for the development of society and the country.
Russia has always been famous for its scientists, designers and inventors. And the Government is taking measures to train such specialists.
This year, we have launched a large-scale project to create engineering schools in partnership with high-tech companies.
I would like to announce the results of the competition. Thirty universities have been selected, where engineering schools will be established.
These are not just Moscow universities but educational institutions from various Russian regions. Competing for the right to open such schools in the new format were 89 universities from 45 Russian regions. The winners have presented the most well-developed programmes. They will receive grants – 84.5 million roubles each – this year. The necessary funds – more than 2.5 billion roubles in total – are included in the federal budget. In total, more than 30 billion will be allocated for this project over the next two and a half years.
Private sector investment will also be involved. High-tech companies are planning to allocate four billion roubles this year.
Engineering schools will help to develop innovative industries in Russia, which will ensure that the best graduates have interesting and forward-looking jobs and strengthen the economic sovereignty of our country.
I would like to note one more decision. As per the President’s instruction, the Government has raised maximum lump-sum social contract payments. Starting 1 July, individuals and families with financial problems will be able to apply for up to 350,000 roubles after signing social contracts and to use the money to start their own businesses.
Those planning to run a business on their own private subsidiary farm will receive up to 200,000 roubles. This state assistance mechanism has already won a good reputation and is very popular.
We expect nearly 60,000 contracts to be signed for new business operations and about 40,000 contracts for expanding private farms before the year is out. The number of self-employed families capable of improving their financial standing will increase.
Today, the Government meeting agenda includes issues on assistance for the regions. The President has set a goal to improve the quality of life in Russia’s Far East and to promote the federal district’s economic development.
To achieve these goals, the Government will continue to support economic growth centres in this federal district. These centres will also attract investment, so it is necessary to create comfortable living conditions there. We are building the needed infrastructure together with the regions and we are improving hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools and kindergartens. We are addressing various issues that are particularly important to people.
Today, we will allocate an additional 1.5 billion roubles to carry out the social development plans in these centres in the Primorye and Khabarovsk territories and the Jewish Autonomous Region through 2022.
We will set aside over one billion roubles for these purposes under the 2023 programme. This will help build a cultural centre in the Primorye Territory and improve various areas.
We will finance construction of a district hospital treatment facility in the Khabarovsk Territory. The region will purchase medical equipment and ambulances, and it will complete a sport development centre in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
The Jewish Autonomous Region will acquire new buses and the necessary medical equipment, including for paramedic centres, with federal support. The local authorities will also improve public spaces in Birobidzhan.
All this is important for people, and it is necessary to implement these plans on schedule. The Government will see to it that no one falls behind.
The agenda includes an entire range of land management issues. As instructed by the President, the Government will expedite the allocation of state or municipal land. Some procedures are obviously excessive, and we can reduce this with digital technologies and through quick interaction between agencies.
From now on, it will take 20 days to decide on allotting a land plot. The administration will also reduce deadlines at other stages. We hope faster procedures will positively influence the implementation of new business projects, and that, along with reduced mortgage rates, they will help expedite private housing construction.
We will also discuss measures to reactivate farmland more quickly. The Government has drafted the relevant bill. Today, thousands of land plots all over the country either go unused or serve other purposes.
These amendments will make it possible to replace the owners of these land plots more quickly. At the same time, we will stipulate measures to prevent unscrupulous businesspeople from re-registering these land plots in the names of third parties or to offer them as collateral, while shirking responsibility for undesignated use. We will specify a mechanism that regulates the procedure for selling these land plots at public tenders, and we will reduce the deadlines for holding these tenders. The proposed changes will make it possible to use farmlands more effectively.
I would like to mention another important issue.
We have prepared a national report on the implementation of the State Agriculture Development Programme last year. Its implementation is a key tool in effectively supporting farmers and creating high-tech and profitable farms.
At the BRICS+ meeting, the President noted that Russia is a significant and responsible party in the global food market. This can be seen in the growing demand for Russian agricultural exports and for feedstock and in reliable food security levels. We are completely self-sufficient in food staples, including vegetable oil, grain, fish, meat and sugar.
Grants for rural businesses have become an effective tool, and they are being used by new businesspeople more often.
Last year alone, the authorities registered over 14,500 small holdings and farms for self-employed businesspersons and hundreds of agricultural consumer cooperatives.
Big businesses are also interested in this sector, including the production of foodstuffs, the development of logistics and the creation of selection and seed-growing centres.
Of course, all this calls for additional assistance measures, taking into account the need to mitigate droughts and market price fluctuations. Last year, we spent over 326 billion roubles on implementing the state programme.
I would like to ask Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev to discuss the national report in greater detail. Mr Patrushev, you have the floor.
Before getting to the main part of the report, let me note that the harvest campaign has begun in Russia. Work is underway in 10 regions in the Southern Federal District and in the North Caucasus, and as of yesterday, our farmers harvested 1.2 million tonnes of grain. In general, everything is going as planned, and we hope for excellent numbers for all major crops.
Colleagues, today I will present a national report on the implementation of the state agricultural development programme in 2021. Let me remind you that the document includes four goals: the produced value added, the volume of agricultural exports, the index of agricultural production, and the index of the physical volume of investment in fixed assets.
So, the produced value added in agriculture has exceeded 4.4 trillion roubles, which is 824 billion more than the target value. The exports of agricultural products in 2021 exceeded $37 billion. In comparable prices of 2020, the figure amounted to more than $29 billion, which is much more than the plan.
We only have preliminary data from Rosstat (the Federal State Statistics Service) on the two other goals. I will speak briefly about them.
The preliminary estimate of the index of agricultural production on farms of all categories to the base year of 2017 stands at 104.5 percent, with a plan of 105.6 percent. What are the indicators for this result? First, the crop production index. At the end of 2021, it was 1.3 percentage points less than the plan. Last year, due to a number of objective factors, above all unfavourable weather conditions, the harvest of grain, potatoes and open-field vegetables was slightly less than a year earlier. Let me remind you that at the same time, we had record harvests of sunflower, rapeseed, and vegetables in winter greenhouses, as well as fruit and berries.
This year we are increasing the total sown area, including that used for spring cereals, potatoes and open-field vegetables, and, in addition, sugar beets and oilseeds.
Next, the agricultural production index includes the results of the livestock industry. Despite the objective difficulties, almost all areas of animal husbandry showed growth last year. Nevertheless, the indicators are slightly lower than the planned value of the state programme, by 0.7 percentage points. This is due to the unfavourable epizootic situation, including outside the Russian Federation. For example, bird flu in the European Union countries has resulted in disruptions in the supply of hatching eggs.
I would like to note that production volumes recovered, and by the end of last year, we recorded higher figures.
This means that despite a certain failure to achieve the state programme’s goals, the volume of production in 2021 made it possible to fully cover the domestic needs and export potential.
In addition, if we talk about agriculture as a whole, it should be noted that the agricultural index, which also takes into account the food and processing industry, amounted to 101.7 percent at the end of last year.
Finally, another goal of the state programme is the corresponding index of the physical volume of investment. Last year’s indicator was 100 percent, which is higher than that of 2020. Despite this, the backlog from the plan was 0.7 percentage points. Last year, this goal was affected by the pandemic impacts. I can add that the final statistics on investment activity will be available only in February 2023.
As for state support of our sector. Last year, 326.7 billion roubles were allocated for the state programme, and 99.7 percent of the sum was used.
Soft lending remains the most popular mechanism. In 2021, authorised banks signed almost 23,500 contracts worth 1.2 trillion roubles. This is higher than a year earlier. Last year, 90.5 billion roubles were allocated for this purpose, and the full amount of the sum was used.
I will speak separately about support for small farms. This segment has access to the entire range of existing support measures. Assistance is also provided through targeted grants to farmers and cooperatives. Last year, over 6.5 billion roubles of stimulating subsidies were allocated as grants, and another 5 billion roubles were provided as part of the Acceleration of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses federal project. We continue to develop support for this sector. In particular, we introduce new types of grants and expand the list of soft lending. In addition, this year we are starting to subsidise household plots that are registered as self-employed.
Mr Mishustin, colleagues, in conclusion, let me say a few words about the planned indicators of the state programme for the current year.
Moving forward, we take 2020, not 2017, as the base year. In accordance with this new point of departure, the state programme envisages achieving a 99.3-percent index of agricultural production. Also, the composition of the goals has changed. Thus, the planned indicator for food production is set at the level of 100.9 percent based on 2020. A goal has also been set for the average monthly accrued wages of agricultural workers: this year it should be at least 39,000 roubles. Achievement of the designated targets will be facilitated by stimulating investments in the sector, including through the development of state support mechanisms, raising the technological level of agriculture and related industries and digitalisation. For our part, we will make every effort to implement the state programme in full.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you, Mr Patrushev.
I would like to emphasise that the Government will continue to support our farmers by offering well-considered, targeted solutions that will help further develop agriculture in Russia, as well as maintain its competitiveness both abroad and within the country, which will provide people with high-quality domestic food products.