Russian president delivered a speech during the annual address to Russia’s parliament. One of the topics of his speech was the future of Russian agriculture.
“We are not only able to feed ourselves taking into account our lands, water resources – Russia is able to become the largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically clean and high-quality food which the Western producers have long lost, especially given the fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing,” he told Russia’s parliament.
On the domestic front, Putin delivered a business and reform-orientated speech. He conceded that an “army of inspectors” (a post-Soviet hangover) interferes with business in Russia and promised change. He also highlighted Russia’s improving demographic situation. “More people are now having second and third children. This means they believe in the future of Russia,” he said. Given the shocking state of the Russian birth-rate in the 1990’s, this recovery is a very big deal. Government policy has been successful in that area and Putin extended current financial and social incentives for a further two years.
However, for this writer, the most notable element of Putin’s speech was when he turned his attention to agriculture. Readers who have flown over Russia will have noticed the almost complete absence of intensive farming when compared with Europe or North America. The only real exception here is the southern Krasnodar region which benefits from a very benign climate. There is little doubt that if Russian got its act together in this regard, it could probably feed the whole planet.