President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Fedorov, I have a proposal for you, a request, you could say. You have been working as Agriculture Minister for three years now and have done a great deal to develop the sector. Over these last months, you have been very actively involved in drawing up our plans for the sector’s development in the current circumstances.
We know that the sector faces difficulties, but it also has big opportunities linked to the fact that substantial segments of the produce market have been freed up for our country’s producers.
You were directly involved in drafting the plan for developing the agriculture sector through to 2020 and the plan for accelerated import replacement through to 2018. I know that the discussions with the Government’s finance and economic bloc were not easy, but that you settled the matter of allocating additional funding for the sector’s development: 50 billion rubles and 4 billion for leasing equipment.
Nikolai Fedorov: That is just the funding for 2015. The total figure actually comes to 650 billion rubles.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, that’s the total, 650 billion, but I was referring to the 54 billion earmarked for 2015.
There have been other decisions too, concerning taxation, for example, the decision to subsidise interest rates on loans for working capital from 5.5 to 14.7 percent.
Nikolai Fedorov: Taking into account the regional budgets’ consolidation, the figure comes to 17.4 percent.
Vladimir Putin: Then there is an increase in support per hectare, support for farmers just starting out, tax breaks, for example, and grants of two million rubles for each new farmer. This money also comes from the federal budget and is allocated via the regional budgets.
In short, there is a lot of work and we need to consolidate the efforts of the Government, Presidential Executive Office, and the regions in order to spend this money we are allocating for developing the sector with maximum effect.
I therefore propose that you come to work in the Presidential Executive Office as Presidential Adviser. You know your future successor and colleague well, he is the current Governor of Krasnodar Territory [Alexander Tkachev], and together, you will be able to work in tandem to organise these efforts, taking into account the need to get regional authorities actively involved too.
Nikolai Fedorov: Mr President, thank you very much for your positive assessment of my work and for the trust that you are placing in me now.
I am confident that the consolidated efforts you mentioned and the work together with my colleagues, the governors and Mr Tkachev, who I know well through our earlier work at the regional level, will achieve results in this sector that is our daily bread. It is perhaps too early to express such certainty, but we should be confident and I am so.
A long time back now, I worked as Justice Minister, and we said with all assurance the phrase Pereat mundus et fiat Justitia – a phrase that jurists are all familiar with. Now people have started saying Pereat mundus et fiat panis – “Long live bread!” This is something very close to our hearts. No matter what the difficulties and trials that come Russia’s way, we will be up to this challenge and up to the tasks that you have set.
Vladimir Putin: I want to thank you again for all you accomplished as Agriculture Minister. Now we will have the chance to see each other more often and discuss the current and future issues in the agriculture sector.
Nikolai Fedorov: Thank you for your trust.