President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Patrushev.
Let us start with field work.
Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev: Mr President, the harvesting campaign is underway in nearly all federal districts. We need to gather the harvest on 80 million hectares.
As I have reported before, we plan to harvest some 118 million tonnes of grain this year. Last year the figure was 113.3 million tonnes. This year the grain harvest is larger.
Even more importantly, the harvest of wheat will increase by 3 million tonnes, which is a positive development. We believe that this amount of wheat will be enough for the domestic market as well as for export.
Overall, the harvesting campaign is proceeding as planned. By now, we have threshed grain harvested from some 34 million hectares, gathering nearly 95 million tonnes. And the yield is higher than last year, 29 centners per hectare.
Next, I would like to mention that the autumn sowing began on August 6. We have completed field work on 5 million hectares out of the planned 17.5 million. I would like to point out that the farmers have the necessary quantity of seeds, including for the autumn sowing.
We have prepared 3.5 million tonnes of seeds, so that we will have the necessary amount by the time it is needed.
We have also started adding mineral fertilisers to the soil. The forecast for this year is comparable to 2018. We have purchased approximately 3 million tonnes, or more precisely 3.1 million tonnes of mineral fertilisers.
Vladimir Putin: What about prices?
Dmitry Patrushev: The prices are good.
They are fluctuating a bit, but this is normal for a market economy, and the farmers are coping with the current prices.
When prices fluctuate more than is justified, we hold talks with producers of mineral fertilisers and farmers to find a balance that suits both sides.
Mr President, I would like to dwell briefly on the livestock-breeding sector. Meat and poultry output reached eight million tonnes in January-July 2019, and we are expecting 15.2 million tonnes before the year is out. This figure is quite substantial, exceeding 2018 levels by two percent.
I would like to discuss milk production separately. Since early 2019, we have produced 18.5 million tonnes of milk, and the figure will reach 31 million tonnes by late December.
I would like to note that there have been no sharp milk price fluctuations this year. As a rule, the prices fluctuate considerably between March and August, and these fluctuations reach 25 percent in some regions. Milk prices are going down.
Last year, you instructed us to conduct this work and to control prices, including through market regulation and by introducing the Mercury online veterinary certification system for raw milk, effective since 2018. Today, we are already using this system to certify ready-made dairy products, and we have managed to prevent milk price hikes.
Current milk prices are just over 24 rubles a litre. In principle, this price suits both milk producers and processing companies. In effect, the Mercury system is functioning rather successfully and allows us to regulate milk prices.
Mr President, I would like to brief you on state support and the allocation of subsidies. Under the state programme, there are plans to allocate 307.9 billion rubles to the agro-industrial sector after budgetary adjustments. And we have allocated 118 billion rubles to the Russian regions, as planned.
Today, direct recipients meaning agricultural producers have received 62 percent of the grand total, which is more than last year. Therefore we will transfer the rest in line with the deadlines set.
Mr President, I would like to briefly discuss an emergency situation. This subject is highly important. This year, an emergency situation regime was introduced in 16 regions, and we have already compiled damage estimates for 14 regions. We have incurred losses of about 9.5 billion rubles. Accordingly, we will carry out all the necessary procedures.
We are focusing on the situation in the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Irkutsk Region. The Ministry of Agriculture has received 820.9 million rubles from the Reserve Fund, for subsequent disbursement in the Trans-Baikal Territory. The region has received all the funding, and 98 percent of the sum total has been allocated to end recipients and those affected.
A two-stage effort is stipulated for the Irkutsk Region. The first tranche of 179.6 million rubles has already been transferred to the region, and end recipients have received 99.7 percent of the grand total.
The second tranche is larger, totalling 296 million rubles and includes compensations for private farm holdings. End recipients received virtually the entire amount on September 5.
Vladimir Putin: Good.