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Russia offers Agricultural Land to South East Nations in bid to foster trade and investment ties

The Moscow Times Tuesday reported that Russia is offering agricultural land to Southeast Asian nations to grow crops and help secure reliable food supplies, part of wider efforts to foster trade and investment ties in new markets.

In an interview last week, Russian Deputy Economic Development Minister, Andrei Slepnyov, noted the state is keen on encouraging companies in the Asian region to enter the Russian market given its large scale and to establish themselves to produce food for [their] own supply.

The Minister was speaking in Manado, Indonesia, where he was attending a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations trade ministers, reported the Moscow Times.

According to the Moscow Times, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev is turning to Asia to boost exports as his country's economy struggles to grow at the pace it did before a 2009 recession.
 
Russia is targeting grain buyers in Southeast Asia to regain its share of the world market after lifting an export ban in July, the Moscow-based Institute for Agricultural Market Studies said Aug. 1.

Many Asian governments are exploring alternatives to secure food supplies over the long term given that the demographic and environmental pressures in Asia could lead to structural food shortages in the years to come, said the report.

Asian nations are seeking stable food supplies after data compiled by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization showed that global prices surged to a record this year. India's food inflation accelerated to a three-month high, a report showed late last week, noted the Moscow Times.

According to the report, Indonesia, the world's third-largest rice consumer, may seek to negotiate an agreement with India and Pakistan to secure rice supplies. Russian farmers are leaving about a quarter of the nation's 165.9 million hectares of agricultural land unused, State Statistics Service data show.

The Moscow Times noted that a further 20.7 million hectares of land lies fallow. Russia has about 24 million hectares of undistributed arable land that should be sold at below-market prices to people already working there as the government seeks to boost production, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in March.

The government plans to annul ownership rights to farmland that has been left uncultivated for at least three years, the report noted.

Russia is exploring possible investments with Southeast Asian nations in power generation, alternative energy and natural resource exploration as it seeks to boost demand for the commodities it produces.

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