The ceremony of signing the agreement between the Russian Association of Farmers’ Households and Agricultural Cooperatives on one side and the German Farmers Association, the Andreas Hermes Academy, and the World Farmers Organization on the other took place at the Voronezh State Agricultural University on Wednesday, April 24. The document is related to the intentions of the participants regarding the development and strengthening of cooperation between national associations of farmer households under the conditions of the transition period. The meeting was attended by Gerd Müller, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, and Alexander Gusev, the Governor of the Voronezh Region.

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– The Voronezh Region is the most powerful agricultural region of Russia, and Russia, in turn, is the largest country on Earth. And I am confident that Russia will make a significant contribution to the cause of providing the world with food. The Russian Federation is the leader grain exporter and has a huge production potential. Given our friendly contacts with Governor of the Voronezh Region Alexander Gusev, I would like to make a conscious statement: the first step towards expanding international contacts will be cooperation with the Agricultural University of Voronezh. This refers to student exchange with German universities. In addition, we will discuss the prospects for the development of the production of environment-friendly products, we are already exchanging information in this field, and we will fully support the region on its way to the production of organic products, – Gerd Müller explained.

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– Of course, such a partnership is very important to us. Firstly, it gives us confidence that we are on the right path and have made the right decision in terms of the regional development strategy. Secondly, knowledge sharing is very important to us as well. The fact that our Agricultural University joins the collaboration with German universities will give our students tremendous opportunities. I also believe that the exchange of technologies and equipment is important too – it will help solve global world problems and contribute to strengthening the economic ties between our countries, – Alexander Gusev said.

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Gerd Müller spoke about the prospects for the development of organic agriculture in the Voronezh Region and the demand for environment-friendly products:

– First of all, the possible demand will concern the production of vegetables. The Voronezh Region has all the conditions for organic farming: a wonderful climate and excellent soil quality. But we need to understand how the attitude of eco-product consumers is forming because customers are very sensitive to the issue of pricing. We in Germany, unfortunately, have not managed to get over the mark of 10%.

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Alexander Gusev noted that the Voronezh Region would be able to sum up the first results of the production of eco-products on its own: organic farming and animal husbandry were among the priority areas of the development of agriculture in the region.

RIA “Voronezh” note for information

Organic (ecological, biological) agriculture is a form of agriculture with conscious minimization of the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, and feed additives. On the contrary, it implies a more active use of the effect of crop rotations, organic fertilizers, various tillage methods, and so on for increasing crop yields, providing crop plants with mineral nutrition elements, and controlling pests and weeds.

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Governor Alexander Gusev first declared support for organic farming in October 2018. In November, Alexander Gusev ordered to develop an organic product support program. The Governor called the development of organic agriculture in the Voronezh Region a promising trend.

In December 2018, the Voronezh Region entered the preliminary list of pilot projects for the development of organic production. The region was included in the list at the request of Governor Alexander Gusev to the Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Dmitry Patrushev. In early of April 2019, an agri-food forum was held in Voronezh where experts discussed organic farming, experience in the processing of agricultural products, food production safety, and innovative achievements.