Russia returned 650,000 hectares of abandoned cropland to cultivation in 2017 - Tkachev
MOSCOW. Dec 22 (Interfax) - Russia returned 650,000 hectares of abandoned cropland to cultivation in 2017, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said at the Agricultural Superpower discussion platform during the United Russia party congress in Moscow on Friday.
"We have put into cultivation 650,000 hectares. This is a significant figure; these are good results," he said.
If the sector continues at this pace, in the course of 10 years "we will be able to reclaim five, seven or 10 million hectares, meaning an increase in area not just for boosting production of plant cultivation but also livestock."
The melioration program is very important for expanding the area. However, much hinges on the shortage of funds: 16 billion rubles is stipulated for program financing. "But in my view it needs to be 40 billion," he said, adding that the situation is especially difficult in the non-black earth zone.
Experts estimate that 10 million-20 million hectares of Russian cropland has fallen into disuse.