Senator Lisovsky told about the problems with potatoes and grocery cards

the Rise in price of food remains on the agenda of all Russians. The coronavirus pandemic is not slowing down, and Willy-nilly, consumers wonder: will there be enough food for everyone. What products can rise in price in the first place, whether we will face shortages and probable if the plan to distribute food to the poor – we discussed with the first Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on agrarian and food policy and environmental Sergei Lisowski.

— How ready was approached by the Russian food market to the current anomalous situation?

for the First time on the establishment of modern agriculture began in 1999. However, in 2000, the Ministry questioned the need for the development of domestic agriculture. The Ministry said that its a bird we do not need: everything you need to buy and sell, and the money is there. Of the officials held this position until 2010. Only then they finally realized that the production of food products we need.

Over the years much work had been done, and now we are ready to provide the country with food. Really helped state projects. They gave a great impetus to the development of agriculture. Even with little financial support in comparison with investment in the agricultural sector in other countries, enterprises can improve. And at present the Russian agricultural sector has become one of the engines of the domestic economy.

Statistics show growth in food prices, including socially important, during the spread of coronavirus infections, as well as falling oil and the ruble. It is a necessary evil?

— In fact the prices with the manufacturers practically do not grow. Moreover, there are big producers, such as meat products which are ready to make your product a discount for the period of the pandemic. At the same time, they believe that retailers do not carry this discount to consumers. All concessions to farmers will go to the profit of the retailers. In Russia, unfortunately, there is no mechanism to give a discount directly to the consumer.

it should be understood that, despite the development of domestic agriculture, we remain in a serious dependence from the point of view of technology. More than half of all the equipment and production lines are imported. The Western partners to trade with us in dollars and euros. It turns out that today’s rising cost of production provokes a low rate of the national currency.

There is another factor of rising prices on the shelves. For a while, until Russian officials were discussing the issue of necessity of support of agriculture, our specialists have lagged behind in the development of genetics, animal breeding, and in breeding and selection. As a result, many species, such as��, vegetables and fruit, we depend on imports that increased in price due to the fall of the ruble.

If you take the vegetable group, the supply of such goods in the off-season (April–July) mostly came out of Egypt as well as Iran and Turkey. Egypt with Turkey has temporarily suspended the export. Left Tajikistan and Uzbekistan where Russia come including potatoes and onions.

However, the supply stood of Kazakhstan. Country blocks the transit of goods through its territory. Today deliveries go, but the logistics became complicated, which is also reflected in the cost of goods for consumers. For this reason the onion can grow in value two to three times. Risks also increase in price and potatoes.

But first, food inflation will depend on the rate of the national currency.

— How the current rising cost of food has affected the consumer excitement for buckwheat and some of the other products that were observed at the beginning of the regime of self-isolation?

— Any excitement affects the value of the goods. In every country and at all times were and remain speculators wishing to cash in on consumer panic. Meanwhile, the Russians living genetic memory: the war years of shortages, food supplies long-term storage. Meanwhile, Muscovites bought in stores honey buckwheat in Altai Krai didn’t know what to do with the amount of cereals that they have.

it is believed that the market condition adjusted itself. However, the growing demand always provokes a rise in price of products, and the state is obliged to realize the function of powerful control on such a sensitive social food market. Unfortunately, such a mechanism was never developed.

How do you feel about the initiative of producers, suppliers and retailers about the need to introduce ration cards for the poor?

— the Possibility of introducing ration cards was discussed back in 2009. Based on similar systems that exist in Europe and the U.S., we were developing our project. However, the initiative had many opponents. Opponents insisted that the phrase “food stamps” is associated the Russians with hard times. And counter-arguments such as the fact that “card” is just a word that does not cause such negative memories, when people pay her, not worked.

At the same time, these cards not only support low-income citizens, but also domestic producers in the WTO. For example, Europe and the United States are actively using this opportunity. But, unfortunately, we have to break the initiative has not yet succeeded.

it is Noteworthy that work on this program was entrusted not to the Ministry of agriculture, it would be natural, and the Ministry of industry and trade, which, listening to the opinions of retailers, “lay hands” on this program and suggested that the distribution of food through retailers themselves.

Then the realization of the project it was planned to spend about 300 billion rubles. Meanwhile, the average trading margin of the networks is 50%. It turns out that retailers are giving their stores a shelf for the distribution of products would automatically receive half of the $ 300 billion Is wrong. Were offered other ways to distribute products.

Suppose there are in the country 3-4 major manufacturer of vegetable oil and 5-6 of sugar producers. It is necessary to conclude with them contracts on direct deliveries. The distribution must go through a trading network and through other distribution system. For example, to deliver food to the poor even in remote areas through mail.

as soon As the trading network and the Ministry of industry realized that the project was slipping from their control, he was frozen.

Recent statements on the necessity of introducing ration cards — is the third attempt to implement the project. Unfortunately, this initiative aims to support retailers at the expense of the budget, under the guise of socially important motives.

If a program of food aid to the poor will be implemented, whether to include in the list of persons in need of those Russians who lose income because of the pandemic coronavirus?

— In this there is no difficulty. But the problem is that the government, trying not to accidentally allocate funds to those who are not too and needs, creates serious obstacles in the distribution of aid in principle. So many social programs fade, even before it started.

Tell you the example of small and medium-sized businesses, which the state promised to grant interest-free loans. I spoke with many producers who are told that they have not received such assistance. They applied, but they didn’t even answer whether they will get in principle the money. Officials of the Federal ministries not really in a hurry to perform the obtaining of the President.

In my opinion, better to “lose” the money and allocate assistance to those who are actually not very and needs, and there are not more than 8%, but to simplify the procedure of getting real poor.

— Can users will have to face real food shortages? Are there any types of food that we are at risk?

— In the coming year of food shortages in the shops will not be exact. At the same time, processors are faced with a serious problem. Already there are examples where the illness of one employee led to the stop of production due to quarantine measures.

One major company was forced to quarantine 135. But the leadership faces with the fact that the government does not exist a clear statement that such quarantine and who pays for forced hospital and how it is made. All appeals to the government ended with the words: “see the website”.

it got to the ridiculous. The representative of the Ministry of agriculture decided to call in all instances and get answers, while not seeming. Nothing came of it. It was also sent from site to site.

it Turned out that the bureaucracy does not allow the state to make decisions quickly, this slows down the efficient operation of industries, which can prevent production of socially important products. And such an omission that nobody is responsible.

Shopping online is not time to implement the products purchased in March during the period of excessive demand. As a result they have at their own expense to destroy perishables. Distribute food to the needy is not allowed under the law.

do you Support the proposal of distribution networks is to give food as charity in nursing homes and other organizations involved in the distribution of aid to the needy? Do you consider necessary to allow them at the legislative level, at least at the time of the pandemic, to distribute the food?

— there are a few poignant moments.

firstly, often the problem of disposal of the product almost expired trade network want to pass on to manufacturers. Retailers trying to transfer to the manufacturers the responsibility for the removal and destruction of such products, in order to avoid costs. If the manufacturer refuses to go trading network forward, retailers are beginning to threaten to break the contract on delivery.

Another problem is tax. Often the tax authorities do not give trading networks such cancellation of the goods to be counted into losses. They believe that if retailers distribute products to the poor, it must be done out of profits. Thus, at this charity help pay income tax.

the Problem is not new. The tax authorities had feared that unfair trade network will bring to this indulgence a portion of the proceeds from the profits. But now, in the conditions of a pandemic, the exemption of retailers from such a burden could help the truly needy. This problem should be solved now. But it is important to prevent the distribution of products already expired.

— state in the current environment, helping agriculture? If enough of these measures?

— we Must give the Ministry of agriculture, who very quickly joined in the work. Almost all the amount that was budgeted, the agricultural Department is ready to give and brought to regions. Promptly issued the loans for the spring sowing and for working capital. It was realized quite quickly.

Often there are problems in the regions. 18 regions are still not prepared regulations for obtaining compensation and incentive subsidies from the Federal budget. If the regulation is not adopted by the regional government, the farmers are unable to support. In this case, the regions themselves should be more efficient.

Now the Ministry of agriculture very actively implementing effective practices in a period of quarantine. There are businesses that, you might say, a creative approach to the protection of its production. For example, bakers are dispersed jobs, set transparent partitions between employees. There is production, which agreed with its employees and organized temporary dormitories. Work there is conducted on a rotational basis. And such practices are spread all over the country.

— What damage can cause to the Russian farmers, the economic crisis caused by the epidemic and the fall of the national currency?

— it depends on the duration of the crisis. The ruble has fallen before, but this pandemic and mass — isolation- for the first time.

I Can assume that something that is even will help Russian farmers. Now all the manufacturers have been able to look at their costs in a different way to calculate the cost of goods. Employers also realized how important it is to have qualified personnel. In crisis conditions the situation can be saved only by the professionals.

when the quarantine will soon be over, this experience will only strengthen Russian agriculture. Most importantly, now that absolutely everyone realize how to develop the industry. Only in this case you can be sure that citizens will never be without food.

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