1 Nov 2017 18:21

Russia may boost PGI exports to 27 bln rubles by 2025 - Tkachev

MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) - Russia may boost exports of protected geographical indication (PGI) food products to 27 billion rubles by 2025, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said.

"We intensively support development of the industry for production of PGI products. The Agriculture Ministry has drawn up a draft conception for promoting such production. Its implementation will make it possible to boost PGI exports to 27 billion rubles by 2025," Tkachev said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta posted on the newspaper's website.

Russia has a number of well-known, popular PGI brands, including Vologda butter, Adygea cheese, Baikal omul (Arctic cisco), Bashkir and Altai honey, Tula gingerbread and Tsimlyansk wine, he said. "For the time being they are mainly well-known inside Russia, but there is serious potential for promoting them abroad," Tkachev said. "Today the promotion of gastronomical brands is a global trend. An entire gastronomical tourism industry has sprung up to serve people drawn to quality PGI products."

"Tourists buy these products and their producers export them. They are sold at nearly double the price [of comparable products] due to high quality standards and wide popularity. The global market in PGI products tops $150 billion," he said.

The Agriculture Ministry supports Rosturizm's project to create a gastronomical map of Russia. A unified interactive map encompassing various regions and presenting unique food products, dishes and culinary traditions on a geographical basis to Russian and foreign travelers will also be created, he said.

Meanwhile, Tkachev confirmed earlier forecasts that Russia would export 45 million tonnes of grain in the current agricultural season (July 2017-June 2018), up to 700,000 tonnes of sugar and about 3 million tonnes of vegetable oil. The mechanism for subsidizing rail transport of grain from interior regions to export ports will enable exports of 3.3 million tonnes of grain, he said.

Grain currently accounts for up to 30% of the value of Russia's food exports. Vegetable oil and fish are also major export items. "For instance, last year Russian exported vegetable oil worth $2 billion. This is the second biggest item on the non-raw materials list of exports, behind only steel," he said.

In coming years, Russia could achieve serious results for exports of meat and sugar, Tkachev said. "We also have great potential for export of quality Russian wine to the global market," he said.

Commenting on the possible cancellation of the food product embargo (which is currently set to expire at the end of 2018), Tkachev said the return of European imports might put pressure on prices and lower margins for Russian enterprises. "However, foreign suppliers can no longer win back for themselves those volumes that they had previously. Their place is now occupied by Russian producers, so I would not dramatize the situation," he said.