Dvorkovich: Government won't allow regional separatism in agricultural product trade

The Russian government will not allow regional separatism in the trade in grain and other agricultural products, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said at a Wednesday briefing in Moscow.

"We will be looking to see that regions do not impose any kind of restrictions on shipments of grain and other agriculture products to outside its borders," Dvorkovich said. That is prohibited by Russian law, he said. "We'll not allow such actions," he said.

Such moves were seen recently in Tatarstan, where a resolution had been issued to the effect that grain deliveries to outside the region could only be effected with the okay of Tatarstan's Agriculture Ministry, he said.

As to the pricing situation on the food and, particularly, on the grain market, Dvorkovich said, "Prices are rising, but they are rising around the world." But, he said, the government will not permit sharp price spikes.

Asked about the idea of so-called food coupons or cards for poorer members of society, Dvorkovich said that the idea has been under discussion for several years now. It could be realized in the context of a program for the development of social food supply. The roadmap for this program has already been approved. "This subject is associated with stimulating demand for the products of domestic producers, and in the context of that roadmap such proposals will be worked up," he said.

This will not be referred to as food coupons and cards, "but a program for stimulating social feeding and increased demand for domestic foodstuffs will be pressing," he said.

Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said at the briefing that "the state program for developing the agricultural complex in 2013-2020 includes this institution, and instructions have been issued to the Agriculture Ministry and other agencies to develop the technology, perhaps in a pilot program to start." The ministry considers those instructions a priority, he said.

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