Self-nourishment - 19 September, 2002

A dream cherished by the Soviet Union within almost eighty years has finally come true. Finally, Russia can successfully nourish itself, Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Kasyanov said at today’s session of the government. Moreover, the prime minister promised that measures to be taken to protect the Russian agricultural producer from subsidized import. This means that tariffs on imported grains will subsequently increase.

At the opening of today’s session Mikhail Kasyanov said, “the government will crackdown on unfair competition.” This concerned restriction of grain export. As is known, European governments and governments of other grain exporting countries subsidize their farmers considerably to incite them to export grains. By the way, Russian producers prefer to buy imported grains because of its good quality and reasonable prices. And now the situation is likely to change.
The prime minister admits that someone may dislike these measures: “However, if subsidized producers oppress domestic producers working under the market conditions in the Russian Federation, we have to take fair, but well weighted and grounded measures.” He said that Russia’s agriculture is currently strong enough to fill the domestic market.
If it is so, a question arises why subsidies for the Russian agriculture haven’t been yet cancelled. 5,5 billion rubles are fixed in the 2003 budget for this purpose. This is probably thanks to centrist deputies who are so much concerned about coming parliamentary elections.

A strong and competitive agricultural producer needs no indulgence from governmental officials. It is good enough to produce as much wheat and rye as necessary and  make the price-quality ratio competitive on any of the world markets. However, this doesn’t concern Russian agriculture, which is currently in poor condition, when there are no bank loans, no agrarian infrastructure and mechanization level is low. The only advantage of Russian agricultural producers is cheap manpower and relatively cheap diesel fuel. And the hope for a dry summer, that’s all.
Mikhail Kasyanov says: “Russia has been an import-oriented country for a long time already. Currently, we can nourish the country ourselves.” However, there are still doubts. We should wait till next year to see how great the harvest will be then.

Kira Poznakhirko

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Author`s name Michael Simpson