State support for Russian agriculture to double despite WTO rules – minister

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Interfax – Moscow, 18 December) State support for agriculture will double as part of the new state programme covering the 2013-2020 period.

“Whereas under the existing state programme (for 2008-2012 – Interfax) we have been giving agriculture R100bn (3.25bn dollars at the current rate of exchange) a year on average, in the period until 2020 the mean figure of federal support will be R200bn a year and more,” Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolay Fedorov said on the air of Rossiya 24 TV channel on Tuesday (18 December).

This will be the main protection so that Russian peasants can adapt to the work within the WTO (World Trade Organization), he said.

Furthermore, he said, a number of laws aim to achieve this too. In particular, one of the documents proposes making several regions exempt, starting from next year, from the restrictions imposed by the WTO on direct support for agricultural producers. The idea is to “legally designate some territories as regions unsuitable for the development of agriculture because of their climatic features” he added.

“We are going to take certain territories into a special-status category so that they do not suffer new trials and tribulations because of WTO membership,” the minister said.

Fedorov also recalled that 20 regions had suffered from drought this year, and that direct losses were estimated as R14.2bn. (Passage omitted: they are receiving various types of aid commensurate with their losses)