Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 23, 1998

Future of agri-food business in Russia focus of discussion

Whether Canada can continue working with Russia in the agri-food business is the topic of a panel discussion at the University of Guelph Wednesday, Nov. 25 from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

The panel discussion will be held in room 441 of the University Centre and is free and open to the public.

Russia, in the midst of an economic crisis, is facing a major food shortage this winter, with main cereal crops down 48 percent from last year. The country is battling a devalued ruble, falling stock market, failing banks and changing governments, said Professor Fred Eidlin, Department of Political Science. However, there is still an enormous market and many business opportunities, he said. Canada has many agricultural technologies that would work well for both food production and food processing in Russia and Eastern Europe. The two also countries share similar climate and growing conditions, he said.

Wednesday's panel discussion will feature Eidlin, Glen Filson, Department of Rural Extension Studies; Pavel Fomichev, advisor on agrarian policy to Yegor Stroyev, Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation; Sergey Nikolsky, who will examine the socio-economic and legal bases for investment in Russian agri-food; and Alexander Makeev, director of the Foundation for Agrarian Development Research.

The panel discussion also will serve as a planning opportunity for the fall 1999 Agricultural Entrepreneurship conference in the Former Soviet Union. The conference will focus on the risks of investing in Russia.

The University of Guelph collaborates with Moscow State University and other Russian organizations. Eidlin operates a program in Russian language and culture in Moscow which gives linguistic skills and life experiences in Russia to Canadian students. Fislin has organized courses for students in Moscow and collaborates with the Sociology of Agriculture unit of the Sociological Faculty of Moscow State University and the Agrarian institute of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

For information on the panel discussion, contact Eidlin at (519) 824-4120 Ext. 3469

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120 Ext. 3338

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