Russian Federation - Agricultural biotechnology, annual report
Moscow, Russian Federation
July 19, 2012
USDA/FAS GAIN repot RS 1246
In April 2012, Russia adopted a State Program on the Development of Biotechnology (including agricultural biotechnology) through 2020. The document acknowledges that Russia is lagging behind the rest of the world in this field and envisages adoption of a number of legislative documents that will allow Russia to create a biotech-oriented economy by 2020. Although this Program helps demonstrate that the government is shifting towards a more pro-biotech policy, in the past year there have been no serious changes in actual agricultural biotechnology legislation and a de-facto ban on cultivation remains. Russia continues registration of biotech crops for imports and use in foods and feeds, but still has no mechanism for cultivation approval.
On April 24, 2012, Russian Government adopted “The Comprehensive Program for Development of Biotechnology in the Russian Federation through 2020” (BIO 2020). This document acknowledges that Russia is lagging behind both the developed and developing countries in the development and use of biotechnology (including agricultural biotechnology) and sets targets to create a biotech oriented economy by 2020. Note: for more information on the Program see GAIN report Program on Development of Biotechnology in Russia through 2020_Moscow_Russian Federation_6-7-2012.doc. The Program seems to demonstrate that the Government is serious about the development and use of agricultural biotechnology in Russia and envisages that in 2012-2014 a number of documents shall be prepared for implementation of the Program. However, most of planned documents concerning agricultural biotechnology are not legal acts but preliminary analyses and reports to the government on improving mechanisms of control of safety of agricultural biotechnology. As was reported last year, in October 2010 Russia adopted a Federal Law that allowed the Government to develop a registration procedure for the cultivation of biotech crops, and by June 2011 the Ministry of Economic Development prepared a draft government resolution on the state registration of genetically modified organisms for release into environment. However, this resolution has not been adopted yet. Moreover, due to the reorganization of the Russian government that followed presidential elections in March 2012, it is not clear what government agency may coordinate the bio-safety approval of biotech crops for cultivation.
Since July 2011 there have been almost no changes in the mechanisms that regulate Russian agricultural biotechnology. The registration of biotechnology crops/lines/traits and imported biotech foods and feeds containing these lines have continued. Although imports of products containing biotech ingredients, such as corn and soybeans and their products, have slowed down, this is due more to Russia’s increased domestic production of corn and soybeans than any change in biotech policy. At the same time the de-facto ban on biotech crop cultivation has continued.
The anti-GMO public campaign has faded since the beginning of 2012, and even the Moscow city government stopped requiring “Does not contain GMO” labeling. For more information see GAIN report Moscow Government Stops Requiring GMO-Free Labeling of Food Products_Moscow_Russian Federation_5-7-2012.doc. Moreover, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture hosted and volunteered to chair the APEC’s High Level Policy Dialogue on Biotechnology in May 2012 in Kazan’, Tatarstan Republic of the Russian Federation. The discussions in Kazan’ demonstrated Russia’s wiliness to develop its agricultural biotechnology. In July 2012 Russian Government also adopted the State Program on Development of Agriculture through 2020, and biotechnology is among the priorities of technological and innovation policy of the Ministry of Agriculture, although development of biotech crops for cultivation was not specified as one of the priorities.
More news from: USDA - FAS (Foreign Agricultural Service)
Published: August 20, 2012