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FAO leads key session at 10th Winter Grain Conference in Altai, Russia

This week the Russian resort town of Belokurikha in the country’s Altai region hosts the 10th anniversary Winter Grain Conference – an important expert forum for analysis of grain sector development strategies. Today, a special session on the “Southeastern Trajectory of the Russian Grain Trade” is being spearheaded by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Major topics at the Conference this year include: macroeconomics and government support to the agrifood sector, achievements of the most recent agricultural season, internal and external market development prospects, and current market conditions in the grain sector.

This year’s event, organized by the Altai regional authorities with support from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, brings together 140 companies from 15 Russian provinces and eight countries from the wider region, including leading grain processing enterprises, producers of agricultural commodities, food-processing equipment manufacturers, and companies servicing the agrifood sector.

Moderating today’s session on the “Southeastern Trajectory” is Eugenia Serova, head of the Organization’s Liaison Office in Moscow.

“The Winter Grain Conference in Altai almost immediately became a prominent event in the agricultural calendar of the country,” Serova said, noting that “the event targets the Siberian grain sector problems that are usually excluded from “big grain events.”

“Every year,” she continued, “the organizers here succeed in identifying suitable content and inviting top-notch speakers. This continues to drive the popularity of the Conference, and FAO’s regular participation is proof of that.”

Natalia Merkusheva, an economist with FAO’s Trade and Markets Division, is among the special session’s panelists. Her presentation covers trends in the global grain market in 2016 and 2017 and their impact on market prospects in the region. In Merkusheva’s assessment, the current season will witness a reduction in demand for forage crops from countries in South-East Asia. Conversely, procurement of wheat will see a 10 percent increase, chiefly due to the rise in demand in India and Vietnam.

Economists, bankers, government representatives, public and private enterprises, producers and academics from across Russia, China and Central Asian countries are among those participating in the FAO special session.

3 March 2017, Belokurikha, Russian Federation

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