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Russian agricultural producers will receive some 100 billion rubles worth of loans this year
Russian agricultural producers will receive some 100 billion rubles ($3.7 billion) worth of loans this year, the first deputy prime minister said Thursday. Dmitry Medvedev said that half of the money would be used under existing loan agreements to help establish and modernize the country's cattle breeding industry, and added that loans worth 50 billion rubles were still being finalized. "We expect the forecast indices will be exceeded in the relevant areas," Medvedev told a meeting on the national projects announced by President Vladimir Putin in his state of the nation address May 10. Agricultural sector subsidies are one issue in Russia's WTO accession talks with the United States. The sector is one of four national projects - the others being housing, education and healthcare - proposed by Putin in his speech in an attempt to raise people's standards of living across Russia. Medvedev said the state would likely provide another half a billion rubles ($18.6 million) from the federal budget to implement the national project to develop the country's agricultural industry. "The presidium of the national projects council has made the basic decision to consider increasing state support, and we propose allocating 500 million rubles from the federal budget additionally this year," Medvedev said. Speaking at the same meeting, President Vladimir Putin said: "Overall, the raising of this issue is absolutely timely and fair," adding that all measures should be drafted in consultation with the Finance Ministry.
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