Mikhail Mishustin: “The Government is doing consistent work to improve the lives of people in rural areas. Thanks to their hard work, agricultural output has been growing year after year. Our citizens are provided with a wide variety of Russian-made goods.”
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks:
Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today, we will talk about food security.
It is a very important matter that has an impact on many sectors, not only agriculture, but also machine-building, food and chemical production, transport, and trade.
The Government is doing consistent work to improve people’s lives in rural areas. Thanks to their hard work, agricultural output has been growing year after year. Our citizens are provided with a wide variety of Russian-made goods.
We also pay a great deal of attention to our obligations on the foreign markets.
As the President emphasised, Russia is a country that makes a significant contribution to global food security, is a reliable international partner and responsible supplier of agricultural products. The proposals and initiatives that will be voiced during our discussion today must take into consideration the priorities as set forth by the President.
Before we discuss plans for the future, I would like to briefly talk about the current situation.
Over the past few years, we have seen record output in the agricultural industry, which has been clearly confirmed by our foreign trade statistics. For example, as of the end of 2022, the Russian Federation was in the top 20 of world exporters, ranking first for products like wheat, sunflower oil and walleye pollock.
These performance indicators have been achieved despite the strict external restrictions currently in place. Moreover, Russian businesses have adapted to the new conditions and are building up their presence abroad, including in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The range of Russian products available abroad is only growing, as indicated by the review of the Food Security Doctrine. The doctrine was updated four years ago in line with the President’s instructions and expanded with new categories, including domestically bred vegetables, fruit and seeds. It is important to monitor them in order to shape a healthy eating culture in people and increase the sovereignty of the Russian agricultural industry.
According to this year’s preliminary review of the Food Security Doctrine, the production of sunflower oil is double the planned output. We have been significantly strengthening our self-sufficiency in fish processing for two years now, with almost 100 percent growth as well. Grain production has increased by more than 150 percent. Meat and sugar output are both above plan. We also expect higher results for potatoes, vegetables and melons and gourds.
Behind every figure, there is the hard work of the people in agriculture, the food and processing industries as well as fertiliser producers, agricultural equipment manufacturers, businesses and regional officials.
There are also fields where more effort needs to be made to achieve the doctrine’s goals.
These include dairy self-sufficiency, fruit and berry harvests, which are growing, although not quickly enough. Salt production is also slightly behind.
We particularly focus on seed breeding. As concerns crops, our producers can essentially satisfy demand fully with our domestic production of wheat, rice and barley. We should strive for better results with other crops and beyond crop farming.
Our goal is to streamline breeding and genetics research in view of the demands of pedigree livestock breeding. It is necessary to boost the production of commercial aquaculture, considering that we have noted an increase in fish breeding over the first half of this year.
It is apparent that to a large extent, the competitive abilities of our agricultural products depend on the development of agricultural and the bio technologies used in the production, including the production of nutrients and supplements, of veterinary medication and the entire scope of modern solutions.
The Food Security Doctrine contains measures to this effect, meaning that they must be implemented according to the included timeline.
Another important topic that we should cover today is the current state of affairs in agricultural equipment manufacturing, and equipment for food production and processing facilities. This matter requires close attention.
On the one hand, we need to continue cooperation with our colleagues from Belarus. Together we consistently provide agricultural businesses with harvesters and tractors. Moreover, this is the third year that we have maintained a positive dynamic, specifically, we purchase more new equipment through leasing than the number of outdated machines we retire.
We support producers via the Industrial Development Fund and through the special programmes of Rosagroleasing.
There are certain issues with the manufacturing of limited-production equipment, especially highly specialised models. We have been subsidising this niche since last year to promote development. We have also adjusted customs and tariff regulation for the types of equipment we do not manufacture domestically.
On the other hand, we understand that boosting the manufacturing of food production and processing equipment will take more time. The share of domestic equipment in different segments of this sector varies from 10 to 80 percent.
We should also approach our goals with due consideration for the demands of agricultural producers. It is extremely important to establish feedback from the people involved in the industry.
It is especially relevant considering the fact that many agricultural universities are educating professionals geared to actively rely on the latest technology. I had a chance to confirm that recently when I visited the Golden Autumn Fair held at the famous Timiryazev Academy. I spoke to students who proposed some interesting solutions. They create many student startups that are very well thought-out.
Today I would like to hear more about updating the methods and approaches in agricultural education. These education institutions train people that will be in charge of food security in the next decades. Of course, necessary conditions must be created, including in rural areas, for these students to be able to work after graduation.
The strategic goal of the Food Security Doctrine is to improve people’s quality of life. This means that every citizen must have access to affordable, nutritious, fresh and good tasting food.