During a tour of an agricultural company in Saratov, Putin was shown horses, pigs and camels
A session of the presidium of the Russian Council of State is taking place in the Saratov region. The session is devoted to the problems of the national agricultural complex.
On Thursday morning, President Vladimir Putin visited one of the largest agricultural enterprises on the outskirts of the city of Saratov – the multiprofile company Nikolaevskaya. Spokespeople for the regional administration decided to show the enterprise to the president, because it used one of the latest technologies in its production.
An impromptu agricultural and cattle show was organized at the enterprise prior to Putin's arrival, RIA Novosti reported.
Putin was shown combine harvesters and other agricultural machines that Saratov farmers use in their works. The organizers of the small exhibition paid the president's attention to two latest resource-saving complexes, produced by the Samara-based firm Eurotechnics in cooperation with German partners. The general director of the firm, Ludmila Orlova said that the machines perform a non-plowing processing of the soil, which allows to reduce costs considerably. The president asked if all agricultural enterprises could afford such machines. The answer was negative. Eurotechnics' head was very emotional in her speech about Russia's opportunities in the field of agriculture. Putin was smiling and nodding his head, as Ludmila Orlova was speaking, RIA Novosti said.
During the tour of the Nikolaevskaya agricultural firm, the president was introduced to combine operator Vasili Nagorny, who told the president about his wages and his own garden. The operator also expressed his wishes about the Russian agricultural industry to the president.
Putin evinced great interest in horses during the tour of the agricultural company. The president gave several pieces of sugar to a chestnut stud (a Russian cart-horse), a horse of the local Saratov breed, and a pony. The pony named as Lakomka was cadging a lot.
When the president was shown a camel of the Astrakhan breed, Putin said jokingly: “I think you have a hippopotamus missing here.” After that he returned to the horses and tried to stroke several of them. One of the horses snorted. “Come on now,” Putin said.
The head of state also visited Nikolaevskaya pig farm and went to see Saratov farmers. The Russian president believes that the home agriculture has achieved progress in recent years. “It is obvious that we have a certain progress. The production was declining for eight years before. However, it has been gaining the average of five and six percent for five years running already,” Putin said at the meeting with farmers and directors of farming companies.
Putin asked the farmers, to which extent the government's measures to improve the funding of the agricultural industry were helpful. “We use them, but they are not good for everyone,” the farmers answered. “The measures were helpful to those to whom they could be helpful, although other farms need different proprietors,” they said.
It was a tea-drinking meeting; Putin was served sandwiches and cakes. “Thank you for the sausage,” Putin said after the meeting was over. “Our sausage will become more delicious soon! We are currently conducting huge work to improve its quality,” the farmers replied.
”Certain positive tendencies have been formed in the Russian agricultural complex during the recent years. The average annual increase of the grain harvest has made up over three million tons since 1999. It became possible for our country to become an exporter on the world market of crops – for the first time in decades,” the president said at a session of the Council of State. However, Putin acknowledged, the general situation in the Russian agriculture was far from being able to comply with the country's needs.
”In 2002-2003 the agricultural industry registered only a 1.5-percent growth, which was very low in comparison with other branches of the national economy. A lot of farms do not bring any profit – their share is quite large, it is almost a half of the total number of farms,” the president said. “The competitive ability of the agricultural production leaves much to be desired as well,” Putin said.