Agriculture Ministry Proposes Support of Meat Industry

The Agriculture Ministry is seeking to allocate from 12 to 16 billion rubles ($ 375 million- $500 million) annually until 2018 to provide support to local meat producers, within the framework of WTO rules, a news report said Friday.

"The Ministry is working on the issue of amending the mechanism of state support, so that it takes into consideration new ways  of supporting meat producers under the conditions of the WTO," said Deputy Agriculture Minister Dmitry Yuriev during a business conference  in Moscow on Friday, Interfax reported.

"This year support will be provided in the form of compensation for growing feed costs and will cost 15 billion rubles," Yuriev said. "In the near future we are planning to spend 12 billion to13 billion rubles per year and that amount will grow to 16 billion rubles annually by 2018," he added.

"We have preliminary support from the Economic Development Ministry," the deputy minister said. "But they believe that the initiative must be limited to 2016," he added. Yuriev said the Agriculture Ministry will try to defend its position on the support in the government.

Meanwhile, the Federal Customs Service reported Friday that from January to April 142 tons of poultry valued at $225 million have been imported, which is a 20 percent increase over the same period last year.

Imports of wheat, butter, corn, sugar, coffee, tea and citrus also increased in the first four months of 2013.

But Imports of other types of meat were down 5 percent for the four-month period to 354 thousand tons, and were valued at $1.4 billion.

The value of imported alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from January to April 2013 was $825.6 million — up 10 percent over the same period last year.

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