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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Mikhail Gorbachev: Russia needs another anti-alcohol campaign

Posted by Kris Roman on July 1, 2009


USSR’s former President Mikhail Gorbachev believes that Russia needs another large-scale anti-alcohol campaign. Making an appearance at a talk show on Russia’s First Channel, Mr. Gorbachev said that “according to the World Health Organization, the country, which makes 18 liters of alcohol per capita, is destroying itself”

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Russians listed one of world’s cleanest nations

Posted by Kris Roman on July 11, 2008

Russian citizens take the third place in the world among clean and neat nations, following the Hindus and the Americans.

The majority of Russians (35 percent) take a shower or a bath on a daily basis. Eleven percent of Russian citizens take a shower twice a day. Residents of Europe turned down their medieval habit of washing themselves twice in a lifetime. However, they still prefer not to take a shower too often. The Britons and the Germans usually wash themselves twice a week.

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Russia may prevent global food crisis

Posted by Kris Roman on May 4, 2008

Today grain supplies are volatile. However, fundamental demand increases will likely be met by countries with highly fertile but under-utilised land. Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan top the list of beneficiaries of this changing landscape.

Russia may prevent global food crisis
Russia may prevent global food crisis

In 1992 Russia had 120m hectares of farmland under cultivation. The change from public to private ownership ensured that one of the few advantages of communal ownership – access to plant and equipment – was lost.

Multiple ownership resulted in a “free rider” dilemma for the new owners of land ie, the efforts of individual contributions are shared equally. Consequently, in the last 15 years, some 40m hectares of rich farmland have lain fallow. And what is farmed is low yielding. Russia grows some two tons of wheat per hectare when it has the potential to produce five tons of wheat per hectare.

The ramifications are significant. From 75m tons of cereal output in 2007, Russia could multiply its grain output several-fold simply by enhancing yield management and bringing fallow land back into production. It could produce some 300m tons of cereals without the necessity of producing on virgin land.

This requires long-term planning and investment. Transferring ownership from inefficient multiple parties with no access to capital to large-scale corporate entities with long-term funding is time-consuming, while repairing fallow land is expensive. To attain higher yields needs lengthy investment in crop rotation. Overall the process can take 4-6 years.

These changes will help restore supply and demand imbalances across key cereal markets. That said, the entrepreneurial zeal transforming the Russian agricultural landscape will only restore some equilibrium to a dynamic market. So, while wheat at $12 a bushel might prove to have been a temporary blip, $4.50 a bushel is unlikely to be seen any time soon – even if it rains again in Australia one day.

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Russian reindeer conquer Western markets

Posted by Kris Roman on May 3, 2008

Reindeer breeding accounts for 90% of the agriculture in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District in northern Russia. The industry’s export markets include Germany, Italy, Greece and Latvia. But producers are facing logistics problems trying to expand.


Reindeer have been the main source of income for the Nenets people for centuries. There are 600,000 head of the animals in the region.

But Russia has yet to develop the domestic market for reindeer meat. Today, all the produce is exported. Most of the reindeer are privately owned, with only 28% belonging to agricultural cooperatives.
“We breed reindeers and hand them over to sovkhos or to the factory. We receive salaries twice a year, but we don’t spend it – we buy the food we need, and save the rest of the money,” reindeer breeder Maksim Khudi says.

One meat processing plant was built five years ago – when there was barely any demand for reindeer meat outside the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous district.

Now the factory has five shops and is receiving orders from other regions. Recently, the first lot of reindeer meat was sent to Germany.

Although producers say there’s more demand outside Russia than inside – expansion is hindered by an age-old problem – transport problems.

According to Yamal Reindeers Plant director, Evgeny Amaltsev, the reindeers are in demand in Germany, Italy, Greece and Latvia, not forgetting some hypermarkets in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.
“But we can only use helicopters and winter roads. Soon the ice will melt and we won’t be able to work for a month. Logistics is our major problem,” Amaltsev stresses.

But manufacturers here remain optimistic for the future. They’re sure the label ‘Yamal reindeer’ – a sign of high quality and good value – is strong enough to keep the brand competitive on international markets.


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