On opening the meeting, the President noted that despite the difficult year there are no prerequisites for food shortages in the country. Experts predict that the grain harvest in 2010 will be at least 60 million tons. Taking into account the 21 to 25 million tons of carry-over stocks, that will be enough to meet domestic demand for food and fodder grain.
There will be no shortages of meat, milk or sugar, Dmitry Medvedev stressed. In this regard, the President issued instructions to the Government and regional authorities to take measures to contain economically unjustified growth of prices for agricultural products and foods. The President underlined the need to monitor the staple food prices and the effectiveness of antimonopoly regulation measures, as well as the application of legislation on trade. The Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and the Federal Tariff Service must deal with all cases of unjustified price increases, the President said.
Dmitry Medvedev emphasised it was essential to control the spending and disbursement of funds allocated to support drought-affected regions. In addition, the President instructed the Government and the Russian Railways to set preferential tariffs for the transportation of grain to regions affected by the heatwave.
During his trip to the Saratov Region, Mr Medvedev visited the Trudovoi pedigree cattle farm which produces milk and meat, the Grachinoye farm where he watched melon harvesting, and a grocery shop in Engels where he checked the prices for staple foods and talked with the locals. In addition, the President visited the Engelssky Dairy Plant and the Mitek meat-processing plant, where he learned about the production technology for dairy products and sausages, as well as the problems faced by such enterprises.
Before the meeting of the State Council Presidium, President Medvedev had a working meeting with Saratov Region Governor Pavel Ipatov. The discussion focused mainly on pricing policies in the region. The President urged regional leaders to monitor food prices, including by personally visiting grocery shops and markets. Mr Ipatov reported to the President on the producer support system employed in the Saratov Region, which contributes to price stability.