5 Apr 2021 18:42

Russia obtained right to export 38 types of agricultural products to 24 countries in 2020 - agriculture minister

MOSCOW. April 5 (Interfax) - Russia obtained the right to export 38 types of agricultural products to 24 countries in 2020, Russian Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

"During the pandemic, our work to expand the access of Russian products abroad has not stopped. Last year, the right was obtained for supplies of 38 types of products to another 24 countries," Patrushev said.

He said another important area of work was increasing the locations for supplies of niche products. "For example, Russian ice cream is supplied to 35 countries, and Russian honey to 29, and such examples become more numerous with each year that passes," Patrushev said.

"Development of export potential, in our view, is extremely important. It is very important not to yield the strong position we have already gained on external markets," he said, recalling that in 2020 the volume of external trade of agricultural products had grown nearly 20% to $30.7 billion. "I'll point out too that in 2020 Russian agricultural exports exceeded imports for the first time. We became net exporters of foodstuffs. This was absolutely the first time; it didn't even happen in the Soviet Union, as I understand it, nor had it for us," Patrushev said.

He said stable development and constant support of the agro-industrial complex from the state made it possible to systematically depart from exclusively exporting grain and to strengthen other areas with higher added value. In 2020, Russia managed to achieve significant growth in supplies of these products.

At the same time, Patrushev said "the balance between state and business is very important, and we also realize that at one point in 2020 certain types of export support turned out to be excessive." "We adjusted our approaches; with the aim of stabilizing the situation on the market, provision of compensation of part of the costs for transportation for the purposes of exporting such products as sugar, potatoes, buckwheat, bottled sunflower oil, and grain was stopped from January 1, 2021," he said.

Putin said it was necessary to support exports with high added value. He asked in which countries flour was made from Russian grain. "They transport it to Turkey, the Turks make flour, while for us flour production has reduced slightly," Patrushev said, stating that the ministry would "redirect support." "Nevertheless, exporters have a fairly big set of tools that enable them not to leave foreign markets," he said.