Russia must maintain food reserves, not export everything: Putin

It was not clear whether Putin was suggesting that Russia might limit exports of major food commodities such as grain

Published : 17 Jan 2023, 04:45 PM
Updated : 17 Jan 2023, 04:45 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia needed to maintain stable food reserves, if necessary by restricting some exports, but did not provide specific details.

It was not clear whether Putin was suggesting that Russia, which has cut supplies of gas to some of the countries it considers "unfriendly" since its invasion of Ukraine, might limit exports of major food commodities such as grain, which much of the world depends on.

In televised remarks to a meeting on economic issues chaired by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Putin said the agro-industry had made a significant contribution to the resilience of Russia's economy, adding:

"We must, of course, allow this sector to work," Putin said. "To make a profit, so that they can invest in the result of the 2023 harvest ... in processing, in animal husbandry ...

"We cannot allow everything to be dragged abroad. Despite all the restrictions on logistics on freight, on insurance - nevertheless, it'll all fly out. It already is."

Putin also said that no one could accurately predict Russia's agricultural output for 2023, citing unexpected warm weather in Europe and frosts in Central Asia.

"That's why we absolutely need stable reserves," he said. "Absolutely."

Russia has cut off gas to countries in Europe that have refused to switch payments to roubles following the West's imposition of economic and financial sanctions in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

It has also said it will refuse to supply oil to any client respecting a Western price ceiling, accusing the West of waging economic war against Russia.

Moscow has also complained repeatedly that its attempts to export fertiliser - also relied on by many countries to boost farm yields - are being thwarted by the West, even as it allows Ukraine to export a certain amount of grain from its blockaded Black Sea ports.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher