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World Food Day, 16 October 2016

Seminar "Climate is Changing, Agriculture must too"

Russian Federation - 13/10/2016

Climate change and its impact on Russian agriculture were the focus of a seminar organized on 13 October by the FAO Liaison Office in Russia with the Russian Federation on 10 October at the Russian Academy for National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA). FAO collaborated with RANEPA, the Economics Department of Moscow State University, and the World Bank Office in Moscow to hold a seminar on climate change and agriculture.

Students and professors from various universities and FAO partners from the government, academia, non-governmental and private sectors watched the WFD video message from FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, and were greeted by Valery Sizov, representative of the Ministry for Agriculture, and Oleg Kobyakov, representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both underlined Russia’s significant contribution to ensuring global food security.

Kiselev, who leads the faculty of Agricultural Economics at Moscow State University, noted that a clear warming trend was evident in Russia since the mid-1970s, with changes in the country occurring faster than in the rest of the world. He stressed that while climate change may positively affect Russia’s grain harvests in the short term, and although more northerly areas may become suitable for farming, the frequency of cataclysmic events will likely increase. For example, he said, more severe droughts are expected in the south of the country and southwestern Siberia.

“In the long run, climate change will have a negative impact on Russian agriculture,” Kiselev concluded.

Sergei Bobylev, also a professor of economics at Moscow State University and one of Russia’s leading natural resources economics experts, discussed regional adaptation to climate change. He highlighted the importance of taking the cost of CO2 emissions into account when analyzing the consequences of climate change from a purely economic perspective. 

Artavadz Hakobyan, senior economist with the World Bank, and Eugenia Serova, Director of the FAO Liaison Office in Moscow, focused their presentations on the elements that will make Russian agriculture more sustainable and robust in the face of climate change and other challenges. Improving the business climate, investing in food safety infrastructure and the training of qualified personnel, integration of family farms and markets, and better management of agricultural risks, were among the recommendations cited.

Victoria Krisko, president of FoodBank Rus, the first food bank in Russia, energized the audience with her presentation on the organization’s activities, and encouraged the students to get involved in activities such as the People’s Lunch project, which prepares and provides lunch boxes to needy families across Russia.