24 Jan 2023 11:21

Russian Agriculture Ministry preparing proposals on import quotas for seeds - minister

MOSCOW. Jan 24 (Interfax) - Russia's Agriculture Ministry is preparing proposals on import quotas for seeds, and it plans to submit the proposals to the customs subcommittee, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said on Tuesday at the XIV Congress of the Russian National Union of Dairy Producers (Soyuzmoloko).

"We are working on it, and will now go to the customs and tariff commission in order to approve quotas for importing foreign seeds. We need to engage in producing our own forms together with our businesses, and with our research and development institutes," Patrushev said.

Patrushev said that this primarily involves commercial seeds.

"Our market is open for foreign selection; and they import, in fact, ready-made seeds. Nobody gives us seed parents; and we are very vulnerable in this situation. We will take certain actions that will encourage both foreigners and our manufacturers all the same to import seed parents," he said.

Patrushev noted that the situation with seeds in the country was not simple.

"In terms of ensuring the doctrine of food security, we are hanging somewhere below the threshold that is indicated in it at 75% [the indicator of self-sufficiency in own seeds]," he said.

This is not the first time that the Agriculture Ministry has addressed the topic of restricting seed imports. These plans were previously announced in August last year; however, this caused concern among farmers, who warned that the production of some crops directly depended on imported seeds. At a government hour in the State Duma in mid-December last year, Patrushev said that the ministry would "not take any decisions on import quotas that would be to the detriment of the harvest, or our agricultural sector," noting that, "Nevertheless, we will implement some restrictions in order to develop our own breeding." No specific decision on quotas for importing seeds had been reached at that time.

As previously reported, according to data from the Agriculture Ministry, the share of domestic seeds in Russia's agro-industrial complex totaled about 60% in 2022, while the figure was significantly lower for a number of crops, particularly regarding seeds for sugar beets at 1.8% and potatoes at about 7%.