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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Farming Reforms Draw Criticism

Russia's farming industry is on the verge of "almost total collapse" because of the government's failed reform policies, the hardline leader of the main agricultural movement claimed Wednesday.

Mikhail Lapshin called for a nationwide farmers' strike on Oct. 15, demanding more government support for their ailing industry, Interfax said. He said the key demand is at least a 10 percent increase in federal spending on agriculture from this year, as opposed to the government's proposed 3 percent, Interfax said.

Past calls for nationwide labor actions have not produced the united stand leaders have sought. If the government "fails to think the situation over and, after the harvest, to make the most serious corrections to the perilous policy of reforms imposed on the agricultural-industrial sector, Russia will wave good-bye to its food independence earlier than Earth greets the year 2000," Lapshin said.

He said gross agricultural production from 1991 to 1996 was down a third from 1990 levels and the output of enterprises processing farm produce had fallen 40 percent.