18 Mar 2022 13:51

Plenty of foodstuffs stored at Russian warehouses, distribution centers, deliveries uninterrupted - Agriculture Minister

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) - There is plenty of foodstuffs stored at Russian warehouses and distribution centers, and supplies are uninterrupted, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said on the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Friday.

"Sufficient provisions of products have been stored at warehouses and distribution centers, and deliveries to retail chains are uninterrupted, and, believe me, domestic manufacturers know how to work in a rush," Patrushev said.

The ministry is seeing "a certain rush demand, for example, for sugar," he said. "We understand that these actions have not only an economic, but also, first of all, a strong emotional component," Patrushev said.

There was a similar situation in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, when many plants were essentially forced to work virtually around the clock, the minister said. "Now enterprises are also increasing production and, of course, are ready to adapt to new market demands," he said. "Therefore, there is no need to be afraid of shortages, Russian farmers will provide food in full," Patrushev said.

Patrushev recalled that Russia has long been fully self-sufficient in all basic types of food. "This includes grain, meat, fish, sugar and vegetable oil," he said.

Producers are constantly working in conditions of increasing production costs, Patrushev said when asked about food prices. "This cannot help but affect retail prices. It is impossible to eliminate inflation risks, but nevertheless we will work to minimize them," he said.

The situation with sugar requires special attention, Patrushev said. "Sugar shipments are currently proceeding without interruption. All factories are working virtually around the clock. As for the next season, we will significantly expand sugar beet cultivation areas, so we expect a good harvest, which should allow us to produce enough sugar and provide not only for Russia, but also our partners in the EAEU," he said.

Patrushev pointed to the measures taken by the government to curb price growth and maintain the affordability of food products. In particular, these concern increasing financing of soft lending programs, as well as allocation of additional funds for the purchase of modern agricultural machinery and equipment. In the near future, 2.5 billion rubles of subsidies will go to bread manufacturers. Another 2 billion rubles is due to be allocated for subsidizing the transportation of agricultural products and fertilizers.

"Yesterday we made a decision to support the backbone organizations of the agro-industrial complex. It will enable them to attract new preferential working capital loans," the minister said. "This support guarantees the sustainability and uninterrupted operations of such enterprises, and, what is extremely important, will contribute to employment in rural areas, as it provides for conditions to preserve jobs".