The Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station has held an online conference to discuss the current state and future prospects of Russian agriculture. The event was attended by representatives of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, the Russian Export Center, regional authorities and the wider business community. The conference addressed a wide range of topics, including import substitution and the expansion of agricultural exports.
Rustam Khafizov, Chief Analyst at Cherkizovo Group, took part in the online conference "Russian agriculture 2020: who will feed the country?”. In his speech, he highlighted favourable developments in Russia's meat industry. He noted that Russia is virtually self-sufficient in terms of meat production and plans to increase meat exports to other countries. “The growth of exports backed by access to new markets in Southeast Asia and the Middle East has become one of the key market drivers,” said Mr. Khafizov.
The conference also focused on the implications of COVID-19 and potential government aid for businesses and households. According to Mr. Khafizov, a targeted food aid program, which the Ministry of Industry and Trade has been developing since 2016, may take center stage among potential support efforts. Given the current economiclimate, the program will be of particular importance.
“Weakened consumer spending presents a real risk and a targeted government food aid program would help to address important social issues, while also providing support to the food industry. In the current environment, this program would serve effectively as a driving force for Russian economic development. What is more, this move has strong support from the business community as it is fully in line with free market principles,” said Mr. Khafizov.
He also pointed out that targeted food aid projects have already been piloted across Russia’s regions and have proved to be a success. Since the idea of a food aid program was first discussed, the concept has undergone several transformations. Rather than providing food cards, now money transfers to consumers’ bank cards are under discussion. The recipients, including low-income individuals and families, will be able to spend the money on essential foods, including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and dairy products.