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Meeting with agro-industrial sector representatives

March 5, 2024, Solnechnodolsk, Stavropol Territory

The President held a meeting with representatives of Russia’s agro-industrial sector.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends, colleagues,

In the past, we used to discuss the problems of this industry more frequently. Now it seems that there is nothing to discuss – we can only be pleased that it is developing at good rates.

However, there are always some issues, so we agreed with our colleagues, with ministers to meet in the Stavropol Territory, one of the centres of agro-industrial production in our country. We will discuss its performance and what all of us, including the Government and regional authorities should do together to support you.

The agro-industrial sector has seen many changes in recent years. In 2000, we were dependent on most of the main components and areas for providing the country with foods products – now, this dependence is all but eliminated.

In the past year, our export revenues amounted to US$43.5 billion. You know this, of course, but I will say for our citizens since the cameras are rolling – these export revenues increased by 30 times, not some percentage. This seemed absolutely impossible not long ago. If someone had said in 2000 that our export revenues would reach US$43.5 billion, nobody would have believed it. It seemed like fantasy but no, today this is reality.

We harvested 157 million tonnes of grain in 2022 and 147 tonnes of it in the past year. Nobody has ever seen such harvests. We now rank fourth in the world in terms of meat production which is also incredible. We remember the jokes from the Soviet era: “What is long, green and smells of sausage? The commuter train from Moscow” because everyone was carrying sausage with them. “A group of drug addicts were arrested in Saratov. The charge? Sniffing smoked sausage.” Thank goodness, all this is in the past and now things are dramatically different.

That said, there is still room for improvement. We are shipping the products of our agricultural companies to about 150 countries despite all the external complications that are created for us. The market is expanding and probably not only owing to the quantity of our products primarily, but also because of their quality. After all, the quality of Russian food products remains very high, and not because we lack the chemical know-how, not at all.

We have just attended the opening of yet another fertiliser plant. Our fertilisers are also environmentally friendly. There is practically no other fertiliser like it in the world.

All of this together. Furthermore, and most importantly, it is the talent of the organisers of agricultural production, it is the labour achievements of our working teams, the enthusiasm of our agricultural producers, and their pride in what they do.

Today we visited one of the enterprises that produces tomatoes; of course, I met with the people. They are proud of what they do and how they do it – you can see it in their faces, in what they say and how they say it. And this is true to a large extent for those who work in the sector as a whole.

Again, there are probably still many questions and problems. Over the past year, we have significantly increased support for agriculture and the sector as a whole. Perhaps we need to pay special attention to something, focus on something, refine the mechanisms that we have proposed and used in recent years, and maybe add something. In fact, the purpose of our meeting is to listen to you.

I am here, the Minister [of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev] is here – he is sitting modestly at the back. But nevertheless, both he and I can hear you, and we will try to respond to what you are saying. And the leaders of the regions across the country will, of course, also hear and see us.

Based on the results, as we usually do in such cases, we will draw up relevant instructions so that nothing is forgotten, so that it is not buried somewhere deep in the mire, but on the contrary, so that it is implemented for the benefit of the sector’s development, which is undoubtedly one of the key areas of the country's economy today.

Please, let's get started. Who will begin?

To be continued.

March 5, 2024, Solnechnodolsk, Stavropol Territory