Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with top managers of the Leningrad Region’s agro-industrial sector
24 november 2008
Vladimir Putin's speech at the meeting with top managers of the Leningrad Region's agro-industrial sector:
Three months ago we actively discussed the problems of the dairy industry, which were caused by the predominance of milk powder in the domestic market. I would like to return to this problem. The commissioning of such a powerful, beautiful, and modern complex as the one where we are today presents an excellent opportunity for this.
You know that new regulations on milk will become effective this December. They will define in no uncertain terms what product can be considered "milk", and the consumers will know about this. This product will be made of natural milk. The product made from milk powder will be called a "milk beverage."
This conforms to our laws, and this will approach the norms of the European Union (EU). And I would like to emphasise, the most important thing is that the consumers will not be misled. I am hoping that this will make our dairy industry more competitive because the consumers will prefer to buy your quality products.
I would like to discuss all these questions, bearing in mind the difficulties which livestock breeding and the agro-industrial sector in general are facing because of the financial crisis. Loans should be accessible, and interest rates reasonable. We have decided to refinance 100% loans on investment projects. I hope this will help, too.
Today we visited a dairy farm. I know it from other examples that the implementation of the programme for the support of the agro-industrial sector, which we developed several years ago, has allowed livestock breeding to make substantial progress. Big producers, and major complexes have appeared, the like of which we did not have in the Soviet Union. Some of them match their world's best counterparts in characteristics and scale, and in some cases, they are the best in Europe and the rest of the world. As for dairy processing, the enterprise where we are right now is certainly an example of such a leader.
Let's discuss the package of questions which I have mentioned.