Vladimir Putin gave his condolences to Oleg Tabakov's family, students, and fans. The President was in Krasnodar when he heard about Oleg Pavlovich's death. The country's leader went there to participate in the All-Russian Agricultural Producers Forum. According to Vladimir Putin, Russia should become a leader in the global agricultural market in the next few years. The President saw what's being done for that at the National Grain Center.
Aleksandr Balitsky personally saw the production of new agricultural samples.
This is a case where tweezers are more reliable than the best machine, and hybridization is the groundwork for a harvest. That's what Vladimir Putin learned at the National Grain Center, where the foundation for food supply security is being created.
— In our country, 27,700,000 hectares are used for growing domestic selections.
They've been doing selection work here for over 100 years. In this time, at least 400 new cultures and hybrids were produced, many of which are now cultivated in Russia and post-Soviet countries. Recently, a new brand of winter wheat has attracted the attention of Turkish farmers.
In Soviet times, one hectare of land produced 4,500 kg of wheat at most. Now, due to newly bred brands, it increased to 6,500 kg, and that's not the limit.
— We've reached productivity of 10,000 kg and higher.
Vladimir Putin: No more floods?
— No, no more floods. It's our responsibility.
While sharing his success with Putin, the Kuban farmer also shares his plans. Dairy cattle husbandry is also lucrative: Now, he gives his dairy to the Kalinovka Dairy Plant, which makes the best ice cream in Russia.
Vladimir Putin: I agree. They do make the most delicious ice cream.
"An attractive industry for investors and one of the country's economic locomotives, " Putin said about the agricultural developments at the All-Russian Agrarian Forum. Since 2000, they've doubled their productivity.
Vladimir Putin: «It's because of your efforts, all of you, our agricultural workers, that the Russian agro-industry has changed drastically in the past few years. It's become globally competitive and technologically advanced, becoming one of the growth drivers for the Russian economy. Could we have possibly imagined something like this? When I say these words, my ears can hardly believe them. Just recently, as you may recall, when they spoke of the agro-industry… but that's in the past now, thank God. Agricultural production volumes have been increasing for the past 5 years, starting in 2013. Meanwhile, livestock production volumes have been increasing for the past 13 years. I'd like to direct your attention to this. I checked out the reports myself, and I'd like to remind you that this increase started in 2005, and not just because of the infamous actions taken by your competitors against our internal market».
Even in these uneasy conditions, farmers are already beating Soviet records.
Aleksandr Balabolov, Agricultural Complex Director: «It takes 9 months to grow wheat, like with a baby».
Here it is, Kuban gold, top-quality wheat, grain-to-grain. This makes the best bread. This Kuban farmstead alone harvests 17,000 tons of grain a year, with over 130,000,000 tons around the country, it's an absolute record. Such complexes don't just feed the country, they make Russia one of the global leaders in grain export.
Vladimir Putin: «This is exactly twice the amount from 2000. I remember 2000 very well, I remember those 65,400,000 tons. I remember being happy that it was enough to cover our needs. I remember what I was feeling back then, I could never think we'd have grown this much».
By 2030, they are prepared to harvest up to 150,000,000 tons of wheat, but the President sets even more ambitious goals.
Vladimir Putin: «The myth about a constant economic depression no longer fascinates anyone. I'm confident that in the next few years Russia will become one of the world's market leaders in agriculture. As you may have noticed during my speech, I said that in 4 years we plan for our global market export to exceed our import».
A lot needs to be done for that, like logistics and agricultural machine building. There's still plenty of foreign equipment in the fields. Putin had discussed this with the farmers at the National Grain Center. They asked him about land, too. Small farmsteads believe that larger agroholdings have their place in the sun.
Fedor Kuropyatnik, farmer: «Farmers' land go into agroholdings. Farmers can't compete with them head-to-head. If a farmer loses his land, he goes bankrupt».
Vladimir Putin: «We don't want people to go broke and move to the cities, we need to preserve this caste of people who farm from generation to generation».
Putin revisits this issue at the Forum.
Vladimir Putin: «We were just moving from our last meeting into this auditorium, and I made a deal with the Minister of Agriculture, he was asked to go in a new direction — we will return to the norms set out by the land plot allocation law for farmers. We will bring it back. But, at the same time, we'll have to incorporate certain changes which will prevent land price manipulation beyond the bidding procedure. Land is only to be used for direct agricultural purposes».
And this is from the students of the Timiryazev Academy — genomic selection, not to be confused with GM products. Every manufacturer has to think about the quality of their products.
Evgeniya Uvarkina, head of an agroholding: «Sour cream and cottage cheese substitutes are being sold as the real thing. This confuses our consumers. Unfortunately, today we don't have enough power to prosecute those who break the law by manufacturing counterfeit products».
The significant growth of Russia's agro-industry is mostly due to the import substitution policy. The sanctions have made us develop our own, domestic products.
— Our last interview was about the history of illegals in intelligence, and now we talk about agriculture.
Vladimir Putin: Why do we need intelligence if we won't have bread? That's exactly my point.
Of course, it's not all due to the sanctions, but to systematic work and thorough planning.
Vladimir Putin: «Like a work of classic literature had pointed out, radical Communism is an infantile disorder, and we got over it, thankfully. We've learned to tell the difference between quasi-liberal idle talk and real life. Just as I said, in spite of all the signs of complying with the WTO requirements, a great amount of tools in advanced economies is used to support their domestic manufacturers. We'll also do it in the future, without contravening WTO regulations».
In order to reach commodity independence, the entire structure must become self-sustainable, which includes manufacturing and processing. Russia has what it takes to get it done.
Aleksandr Balitsky, Anna Sorokina, Aleksandr Antonov, Semyon Shavchenko, and Vladimir Ozerov, Vesti from Kuban.