Russia at forefront of Berlin food fair
22 January 2007, Berlin (dpa) - With a huge exhibition hall and a range of products twice as large as last year, it is Russia which currently captures the spotlight at the 81st International Green Week Fair, which began Friday and continues until Sunday, January 28. This is a piece of our Russian homeland," extolled Alexej Gordejev, Agricultural Minister, on seeing the 6,000 square-metre- size Green Week pavilion at the weekend. Products from 24 regions of Russia, including Astrakhan and Tomsk, are display
22 January 2007
Berlin (dpa) - With a huge exhibition hall and a range of products twice as large as last year, it is Russia which currently captures the spotlight at the 81st International Green Week Fair, which began Friday and continues until Sunday, January 28.
This is a piece of our Russian homeland," extolled Alexej Gordejev, Agricultural Minister, on seeing the 6,000 square-metre- size Green Week pavilion at the weekend.
Products from 24 regions of Russia, including Astrakhan and Tomsk, are displayed in the hall.
Never before has Russia - long a participant at the famous consumer fair - organized such a powerful presentation of its foodstuffs and liquor in Germany.
Exhibits range from Causcasian kumys cheese to reindeer specialties from Jamalo-Nenetzk, from regional delicacies in Krasnodar to honey from Bashkortostan. And, of course, there's vodka, a wide variety of it.
Russians in colourful red and black traditional regional costumes and Kossack-style headgear mingled with the stream of weekend visitors to the pavilion, at the southern end of the vast-sized exhibition complex.
Russian-style restaurants cater for those wanting to sample its food specialities. And there's entertainment. On a large raised stage, non-stop music is played by accordion-playing folk performers.
Each year Russia makes a point of focusing on a different region of the country. This time round it's the Southern Federal District, Russia's largest agriculture producer, which gains the spotlight.
Katrin Materna, a Berliner, and her seven-year-old daughter Julia, were among a throng of people at the Russian pavilion on the opening day. A loyal Green Week visitor for years, she says: "The Russians have made a big effort this year, and have a really attractive pavilion."
Besides plugging a multiple supply of cold meats, sausages and hams, red, it also displays red and white regional wines along with ecological products from Siberia. Teenagers clamber aboard powerful Wolwograd-made tractors.
Russia attaches ever-growing importance to the Green Week - a fact underlined by the number of high-ranking delegations descending on Berlin for the ten-day farm and food bonanza.
D.N.Kozak, the Russian president of the Southern Federal District, G.A.Gorbunov, a senior food policy official from the Federative Assembly, and G.V.Kulik, the chairman of the Duma's Agricultural Committee have already been seen at the Fair, along with 21 regional governors and company chief executives.
Solely as a result of contacts established at the Green Week over the past two years, North Caucasus has received investments in excess of 700 million euros, Kozak tells reporters at a press conference. "Two years ago we could never even have imagined obtaining outside investments," he said.
The pace of development in the country's granary was twice as fast as the average for Russia as a whole, pointed out Agricultural Minister Alexej Gordejev, when stating that an extension of the exemption for import duty on agricultural machinery had been agreed. It had been due to expire this month.
The decision would continue to help farmers obtain urgently needed new equipment, he added.
Juri Melnyk, Ukraine's minister for agricultural policy, also emphasized the show's importance for his country, claiming that bio- energy and Ukraine exports of products to the EU are pre-eminent topics of discussion in Berlin.
Visitors can sample schaschlik, bortsch and soljanka, hand-made wareniki and blinis, chocolates and biscuits, and Crimean sparkling wine and beer at the Ukraine presentation in hall 7-2a.
Lithuania also flies its flag in Berlin, signing joint venture agreements with several federal German states, including Schleswig- Holstein, Baden-Wuerttemburg and Saxony Anhalt at the Green Week.
Raw materials for the production of bio-energy are becoming increasingly important for Lithuania, said professor Kazimira Danute Prunskiene in Berlin Saturday.
"Farmers who change over to the production of oil seed rape receive a state subsidy of 45 euros per hectare," he said, adding that bio-fuels now account for 3.5 percent of the country's energy supplies, with further scope for expansion.
Already, advanced training sessions were being organised and sales cooperatives set for various of its products shown in Berlin for the first time.
These included cold-smoked and organically produced meat, as well as specialities from the forests, such as preserved fungi, ceps, chanterelles and tylopilus.
So far, more than 130,000 visitors have visited the Green Week in which 1601 exhibitors from 56 countries around the globe are represented.
Subject: German news