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    April 13, 2016

    France 24: Russian Farmers Are Prospering Amidst Lack of Competition

    Translated by Inessa Sinchougova
    13th April, 2016

    The embargo on produce has had a considerable effect on the development of Russia’s agricultural markets, reports France 24. 

    Even though many European and American technologies are still being utilized in this sector, experts assert that they have had no difficulty in replacing that which was formerly imported. 

    As the Russian embargo on food items from the EU, US, and Australia continues, European farmers have been the hardest hit - reports French TV channel France 24. As well as the embargo, Russian farmers are also receiving financial help from the government and are currently living their best days to date. 

    When the embargo came into force in 2014 - dairy, meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit quickly disappeared off Russian supermarket shelves. However, the situation quickly reversed with new names and new companies on offer. For the years 2015 and 2016, the government has allocated 5 billion dollars to stimulate the agricultural sector. 

    In this way, just outside of Moscow we can spot huge territories with glasshouses for tomatoes, cucumbers and other greens – this project receives various benefits, including tax breaks and subsidies. However, the factory is being run by Dutch specialists. The technologies which allow for produce to be grown in Russia at any time of year are also Dutch. They have no equivalents in Russia – yet.  

    Russia shows less protectionism to technologies required to stimulate its agricultural sector. In this way, Israeli technology is being utilized at a fish farm we visited, for the production of caviar. “The main reason why we do not work with a Russian factory, is because it does not produce to the same standard as in America or Europe” – says General Director Irma Gevondyan.  She reiterated that the embargo emposed by Russian authorities on fish imports has grown her business, to the point that “clients are basically queuing at the door.” 

    This industry also receives financial help from the government, if not always on time. While authorities pass off fault onto one another, the Ministry for Agriculture asserts that it is only a matter of learning to streamline and working together properly. “The crisis is an opportunity” – says the Ministry of Agriculture and that there is no problem with financing of the import-replacement programme.

    Sectors where things aren’t looking as bright are butter and cheesemaking – with blue cheese and parmesan being severely missed. The hope is that Russians wanting to fill this niche market will be headed to gaining qualifications in this area shortly. 

    The embargo has shown to be a very positive development for Russian farmers, and competition is rapidly growing in order to get a slice of the action – “Everybody understands that one day sanctions will be lifted” – states France 24. 

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