To replace imported foods banned by the Russian government as a response to Western sanctions, the country's agricultural sector needs massive budget allocations, a senior official said Tuesday.
"We'll be unable to solve the task to substantially increase production," Anatoli Kutsenko, director of economy department in the Ministry of Agriculture, told a roundtable economic conference here.
According to the ministry's estimates, to fully replace banned imported foods by 2020, Russian farmers would need governmental financial support to the tune of at least 568 billion rubles ( nearly 10.5 billion U.S. dollars).
This year, federal support of the agricultural sector amounted to 95 billion rubles (over 1.7 billion U.S. dollars). The federal budget allocates 20 billion rubles (over 3.6 billion U.S. dollars) for farmers in 2015, while the ministry has requested over 70 billion rubles (nearly 13 billion U.S. dollars).
If original request was fully supported, by 2020 Russia's agricultural sector could substitute up to 74 percent of imported vegetables, 20 percent of fruits, 50 percent of pork and poultry, Interfax news agency quoted Kutsenko as saying.
Kutsenko added that the most difficult commodity for replacement is beef because of technological deficiency of related sector.
Russia imposed an embargo on food imports from the United States, Canada and the European Union in early August in retaliation for western sanctions against Moscow.