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Agriculture minister of Russia: Russian agriculture growth impressive

After last year's drought, the agriculture sector is recovering thanks to government support and the rate of growth is already impressive, Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, published Tuesday.

"We have all mobilized, problems were resolved with the support of the country's leadership, state aid was increased and as a result the sector has not only survived it has increased production," Skrynnik said.

The Agriculture Ministry predicts the grain harvest to exceed even the optimistic forecast of 90 million tonnes, she said. The rate of growth in the poultry industry - 16% per year - is also significant.

It is difficult to imagine what the consequences would be for European farmers with such a dry summer, the minister said. Russia is already planning to expand export to EU countries, not just of wheat and rapeseed, but also quality, eco friendly vegetables.

"Farmers in southern Europe are worried that we will bring Astrakhan tomatoes, peppers and eggplants to their market. Our vegetables are tasty and eco friendly. If they go on sale there, nobody will buy the local plastic produce. It is the same with poultry meat and pork," she reckons.

Quality farm produce requires deeper processing, Skrynnik said. "We need to give farmers more opportunity to access the market. We need to work on that. And we can actually learn about this from the Europeans," the minister said.

The growth point for Russian agriculture is to develop exports, she said.

"We will organize supplies of our food on the international market. And then I will see what they will be proud of in Europe," she added.


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