Russia was represented by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sergey Levin. According to him, the pandemic poses serious challenges for the global economy, and therefore for the agrisector. The current situation presupposes close attention and hard work to mitigate potential food security risks. “We believe that such conditions urge keeping the established supply chains of key food products. It is also necessary to avoid volatility and food market price speculations,” Sergey Levin emphasizes.
Another important aspect is the influence of the epidemiological situation on the stability of agricultural production and food industry functioning. It is necessary to strengthen the industrial sanitary measures to ensure the safety of personnel. In addition, in some cases, the national agro-industrial bodies face the problem of labor shortages, in particular, due to the outflow of seasonal workers. The Deputy Minister also noted that current pandemic could hit on the private purchasing power and cause severe decrease in food demand. This calls for targeted measures to support vulnerable social groups with a focus on the economic and physical accessibility of essential goods.
It was agreed that emergency measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic should be targeted, proportional, transparent and the parties unanimously stated that they would work together to ensure sufficient amount of safe, affordable and nutritious food for all individuals, including the most vulnerable strata. Recognizing the crucial role of the private-owned enterprises in food systems, the parties called for increased collaboration between the public and private sectors to mobilize prompt and innovative responses to the effects of the pandemic on the agriculture and food industries. Relevant arrangements feature in the joint statement.