Academic journal article European Research Studies

Food Security of Russia in the Context of Import Substitution

Academic journal article European Research Studies

Food Security of Russia in the Context of Import Substitution

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Adequate provision of food supply has been of utmost importance in the history of mankind. However, food shortage combined with the annual population growth is still registered at the global level (Godfray et al, 2010). Given the stable decrease of the global hunger index, it is still very high and constituted 34.8% in 2016. The share of undernourished global population over the period of 2014-2016 made up 26.8%. The highest rate registered in Central African Republic and other African countries south of the Sahara Desert. Among emerging economies, Russia occupies 24th place with the relatively low index of 6.8, but it is higher than that of the neighboring countries, such as Belarus and Ukraine (Grebmer et al, 2016).

The present level of food security in the Russian Federation indicates not a very sustainable situation. According to the global country index of food security of the Economist Intelligence Unit, Russia is on the 43rd place at 63.8, between China and Belarus, whereas complete security stands at 100.0. Among 26 European countries, Russia is on the 23rd place, the three lowest positions occupied by Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine. The statistics show that no country has achieved complete food security. Even the USA, occupying the top of the rating with the index of 89.0, cannot consider immune (The Global Food Security Index, 2016).

Recent approaches with new biotechnologies used in economically developed countries have not resulted in complete eradication of food shortage. Genetically modified (GM) products have posed more questions than solutions (Freedman, 2013). Many experts and producers presented evidence that their experience of growing and consuming GM products had shown that such agricultural technology did not lead to yield increase. What is more, they caused uncontrollable use of pesticides in attempt to maintain agricultural productivity (Yermakova, 2014; Borisova et al., 2015; Tyaglov et al., 2017; Polychronidou et al., 2014/

Current climatic, economic, social, demographic and political conditions exacerbate agricultural problems in Russia and stipulate the need for food security provision through reaching maximum level of food sovereignty. The negative impact of global factors, worsening international relations with the introduction of sanctions against the Russian Federation and retaliatory food embargo have led to intensive development of import substitution agricultural policy. The necessity of such activities dictates by the aim of encouraging the development of Russian of rural areas and agrarian sector. They characterized at present by steady trend of population outflow and labor shortage, the downtrend in the living standards, low productivity level and low production potential.

Given the objective necessity of intensive development of import substitution agricultural policy, nonexistence of sustainable mechanism of its implementation can cause considerable harm to food security and lower the competition levels on the domestic market. This will lead to deterioration of food products quality, increase in their price and decrease in their economic accessibility. It should be noted that import substitution by using internally produced food products is closely linked to increase in agricultural production volumes, which under the industrial mode of agrarian sector means growth of the farmland area.

This can result in degradation of natural environment due to deforestation, use of nitrogen fertilizers and intensive use of clean water. Agriculture also considered one of the main sources of atmospheric pollution. Consequently, the intensive development of import substitution agricultural policy requires new technological solutions to ensure the preservation of natural environment and competitiveness levels on the agricultural market.

The issues of Russian food security and food import substitution and policy have studied by a number of prominent Russian economists: Altukhov (2016), Ushachev (2015), Golubev (2015), Kliukach (2015) and others. …

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