The“Nezavisimaya gazeta” published an opinion of Natalia Shagaida, Head of Agrarian Department at the Gaidar Institute, on the government intention to introduce a quota for seed imports of nine crops.

The subject of dependence on foreign planting material remains relevant. For some crops, the share of domestic selection does not exceed 2%. Since the beginning of SMO, a number of foreign importers have left the Russian market, but nevertheless they try to import their products into Russia. The government intends to adopt a number of rules for cooperation with foreign suppliers, as well as quotas on imports of seed and pedigree material. The Ministry of Agriculture explained that they are not against cooperation with foreign companies, but stimulation of domestic seed production is a key factor in ensuring food security of the Russian Federation amid the import restrictions from unfriendly states.

Natalia Shagaida believes that improvement of seed self-sufficiency is a very subtle subject. “Moreover, the position of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation seems weighted, i.e., - avoid forcing the limitation of imports, but introducing quotas. However, there is a risk of lobbying interests by producers of non-competitive products,” the expert noted. She also reminded that many Soviet varieties remain uncompetitive. “We need to take into account the long-term underfunding of breeders. Many Russian breeders are not able (or they do not have the strength and funds) to promote their products among agricultural producers the way foreign giant companies did. We have practically no breeding business. It is precisely there is no breeding as a business for making money. Public money can be allocated, but it is hardly necessary to give money to those structures which cannot function as a business and are not aimed at development. They may breed a variety and produce a hybrid, register it, but not further,” Natalia Shagaida said. As for imports, it will be limited when producers see