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Russia is set to increase agricultural production and food supplies
Russia is set to increase agricultural production and food supplies to world markets to help tackle a global food crisis, President Dmitry Medvedev told a news conference after the G8 summit on Wednesday.

G8 leaders, who met in a luxury resort on northern Japan's Hokkaido Island, are facing the challenge of global food price hikes caused by poor harvests, reductions in cultivable areas in favor of biofuel production, and high fuel prices.

"Our country's long-term contribution to solving this problem [food crisis] will be to increase substantially agricultural production and [food] supplies both domestically and to world markets," the Russian leader said.

Medvedev urged the Group of Eight most industrialized nations to strengthen food security through urgent food aid and a long-term package of anti-crisis measures.

The Russian president criticized excessive protectionism and subsidies in the food sector as "economic egotism" and warned against disrupting the current system of food supplies with the lives of millions of people at stake.

He also said Russia has "a flexible policy" and had not closed its food markets to external buyers, and was actively purchasing products on the world market.

Russia's president also proposed on Tuesday that G8 countries hold 'grain summits' to discuss policy and pricing.

"We need a new format within the G8 - meetings of agriculture ministries and a 'grain summit,'" Dmitry Medvedev said following a G8 meeting which focused on the global economy.

As another solution to the food problem, Medvedev also proposed expanding the use of nuclear energy.

"The situation around the food problem and climate change will depend on the situation on the oil and gas markets. We have placed particular emphasis on the fact that comprehensive use of nuclear energy would be a significant addition to those [energy] resources currently being used," Medvedev said.

At the same time the Russian president reported that the G8 leaders had shown a balanced approach to the use of genetically modified products and biofuels citing public concern on the issue.


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