Russia. Sochi: On the first day of the Second World Grain Forum in Sochi plenary session “Grain Production and the Grain Market: Global Changes and Opportunities” was held. The session was attended by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Arkady Dvorkovich, and the Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Alexander Tkachev.

The Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev addressed the session with the speech. He pointed out that the state would always render the required support to the agriculture irrespective of sanctions or countermeasures. “We made a decision to preserve the budgetary provisions at an adequate level and the State Duma has supported us today”, said the Prime Minister.

In conditions of cropland reduction and rising need for grain worldwide, Russia may become a stabilizing factor on the global scale, stated the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. «Russia has returned the position of the largest player in the world market, as it was 100 years ago», said Dmitry Medvedev. «To increase the grain output up to 130 million tons a year in the coming years is the achievable target»,noted Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

The Chairman of the Forum Organizing Committee Arkady Dvorkovich stated that Russia joined the ranks of leading agricultural states of the world; over the last years it had almost doubled the grain production and come out on top of wheat exporters. «Russia takes the forefront in provision of global food security», pointed out Arkady Dvorkovich.

Speaking at the plenary session, the Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Alexander Tkachev noted that taking into account the oil price downturn, the grain is becoming the most important export commodity in Russia. Over the recent years the number of countries—importers of Russian grain has grown from 60 to 100, grain export has almost tripled. The crop yield has grown from 18 to 26 hundred kilograms per hectare.

“The global grain market is also undergoing major changes”, noted Mr. Tkachev. «Herewith, the Russian share in global export has grown from 1 to 9 %. Russia has enormous reserves and growth potential, which should be used for grain production and sale. Many emerging market, namely markets of Africa and Asia, are waiting for Russian suppliers».

Russia is able to produce 150 million tons only on account of land melioration and the use of mineral fertilizers, said Mr. Tkachev. Today only 4% of cropland in Russia is meliorated, and a half of lands is used without any fertilizers. Deep processing of grain, the use of bio-technologies, new storage and transportation infrastructure will allow opening new markets for export, noted Minister of the Russian Federation.

“Agriculture is the driver of economic growth, its locomotive engine, and promotes the import substitution program”, said Tkachev. “Our historic mission is to provide food to our nation. I am sure that in five years we will be able to solve this task”, concluded the Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation.

The construction of the Far Eastern Grain Terminal may become one of the main links in enhancement of the Russian export potential, noted Director General of United Grain Company Marat Shaidaev.

During the session its participants discussed megatrends affecting the world grain market. The agricultural sector is turning to a new technological mode; production becomes more and more sophisticated, and information technologies are playing more crucial role in the grain sector.

Agriculture is one of the main consumers of high-tech products. Chairman of Supervisory Board CLAAS Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuserappealed to look at technologies from the farmer’s viewpoint and develop engineering equipment under due consideration of manufacturer’s interests. Efficiency of agriculture will not improve unless people learn using high technologies to the fullest extent, considers Chairman of Supervisory Board CLAAS.

The session was attended by leading experts and professionals of the grain sector from various countries: Head of Cargill in Western and Eastern Europe Roger Janson, Senior Vice President of “Olam International Limited” Raj Vardhan. The session moderator was Russian journalist, economic commentator, ТV and radio presenter Alexander Kareevsky.