55 percent of potato seeds, according to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, are imported into the country from abroad. This figure was announced the other day during the hearings at the Federation Council.
In addition, as experts say, in the domestic agricultural industry there is an acute shortage of specialist breeders. In the Amur Region, the only farm that currently produces certified elite seed potatoes is KFH “S. E. V. " in the Blagoveshchensk district. The fact that the region prevents the potato business from developing, how good seeds help increase productivity and reduce costs, and why there is almost no local product on the shelves of supermarkets, said the head of the farm, Yevgeny Sokolovsky.
No subsidies for potato growers
- We have been offering certified seeds to Amur farmers and owners of private plots for 15 years already. Back in 1993, they began with the reproduction and distribution of the Borodyansky pink variety in the region. We still produce seeds of traditional and very resistant varieties: the Russian "lina", the Dutch "sante", we also have a standard of taste - the German "adrette". And more than a dozen more varieties, including novelties, among which are the seaside "relish" and "queen anna", which has a fantastic yield, - says Evgeny Vladislavovich.
Five years ago, an import substitution program began to operate in the country, which also affected domestic agribusiness. The Russian budget began to allocate serious funds in the form of subsidies for domestic potato growers. However, the Amur farmers did not wait for state support.
100 thousand tons - the potato production in the Amur Region decreased over this 4 years
- Potatoes for the Amur region are the "first bread", food security of our region. As a member of the Council of the Association of Peasant (Farming) Farms and Agricultural Cooperatives of Russia (AKKOR), I regularly raise the issue of the need to support Amur vegetable growing and potato growing before all authorities. The authorities of many Russian regions provide such support to their agrarians. However, in our region, no such subsidies are provided, since there is a stereotype that there is an overproduction of potatoes on the Amur market. But it is enough to look at the numbers to be convinced of the erroneousness of this judgment. In 2018, about 200 thousand tons of potatoes were grown in the Amur region, three years before that the region produced half more. Agricultural technology and the lack of variety change or variety renewal in many farms play a role in reducing the yield and quality of tubers. Unfortunately, growing potatoes today looks like an unattractive and low-profit business, ”Yevgeny Vladislavovich makes a disappointing conclusion.
Back in the early 2000s, Amur farms could work at a loss for one year in order to make a good profit the next. When the market situation became harsher, many potato growers were forced to reorganize or leave to work in other territories.
90 percent of seed costs are compensated by the state
“Several years ago, the DalGAU Uchkhoz, the All-Russian Research Institute of Soybeans, several private farms and even individual entrepreneurs were involved in potato seed production in the Amur region,” Yevgeny Sokolovsky lists. - And today only our farm grows elite seed material. We are the only seed growers and we are literally surviving on the brink! At the same time, the cost of delivering seeds from the central regions of the country exceeds their price, and the import of seed potatoes is complicated by sanctions. When buying seeds from the S. E. V. " the state compensates the buyer for up to 90 percent of their value. Considering the projected increase in yields by one and a half to two times, an improvement in the quality of tubers and the ability to avoid non-reimbursed costs and transport costs, this is the most advantageous offer.
According to the agrarian, the lack of subsidies for potato growers is the main reason why there are practically no Amur potatoes in shops and catering establishments of budgetary institutions. Despite the fact that modern technologies make it possible to store the harvested in the fall for 12 months - from harvesting to harvesting, farmers do not want to keep their agricultural products in vegetable storages. Even though many have storage space. Businessmen are afraid that their potatoes, beets, carrots will not be in demand in the spring. Therefore, entrepreneurs engaged in agribusiness seek to sell their agricultural products as soon as possible, despite its minimum cost during the harvest season.
- In order to establish a profitable sale of Amur potatoes, it is first of all necessary to close at least budgetary institutions for import. Of course, within the framework of the current legislation, the head of the peasant farm “S. E. V. " “Everyone knows that local agricultural products are not only safer, but also cheaper. However, since mid-May, Amur potatoes have not been found on supermarket shelves. It is sold mainly imported from other regions, as well as imports from China, Israel, Pakistan, Egypt. It is extremely difficult for a local farmer to get on the counter of a store with his products. Nevertheless, there is a way out, even for small farms that can unite and solve common problems together. Then in our stores there will be not one or two varieties of potatoes grown on the Amur land, but many times more. Farmers can get help by becoming members of the agro-industrial cluster. With the support of the Center for Cluster Development of the Amur Region, cooperatives are being created, the purpose of which is not only production, but also the sale of products, including outside the region and for export.
KFH is ready to provide assistance to flood victims
In 2013, peasant farm “S. E. V. " engaged in the storage and delivery of humanitarian products to Amur villages affected by the flood. More than 1000 tons of the farm then stored and transported free of charge to educational institutions of Blagoveshchensk and Blagoveshchensk district. Today, the company is also ready to provide humanitarian aid and deliver its agricultural products to the territories affected by the disaster.
- We have already offered to provide humanitarian aid with vegetables to the victims of the flood. But so far no one has responded to our initiative, - notes Evgeny Sokolovsky. - Probably, in case of emergency response, the delivery of seeds is not provided Nevertheless, we are ready to supply the residents of Amur, whose plots were affected this summer, with potatoes of zoned varieties, which can be used, among other things, as seed material next year.
Evgeny Sokolovsky, head of the farm "S. E. V. "
- Historically, our region has grown potatoes not only for our own needs. We fed it to Yakutia, Khabarovsk, Primorsky Krai. And today they bring us potatoes not only from neighboring China, but also from Siberia. In regions where support programs for potato growers are in operation, subsidies can reduce the cost of production by about a third and make it profitable even for supplies to neighboring territories. It's also a shame that our climate for growing potatoes is more suitable than in the same Primorye, which suffers from monsoons every year. Growing soybeans, our region has gone far ahead in breeding issues. The region has its own All-Union Research Institute of soybeans, there are various laboratories, large holdings even have their own scientific departments working with this culture. As for vegetables and potatoes, in the Amur region there is no corresponding scientific base and specialists with the necessary knowledge in the field of vegetable growing and potato growing. And this gap must be filled.
Potato Field Day at Kanikurgan
August 27 at the farm "S. E. V. " in the village of Kanikurgan, the first Potato and Vegetable Field Day will be held in the Amur Region, where everyone can try and see new varieties, get acquainted with modern technologies for growing potatoes.
Representatives of domestic and foreign seed companies, as well as organizations that produce plant protection products, develop and introduce modern and innovative technologies in the production of vegetable crops in Siberia and the Far East will come to the forum. A friendly dinner is planned, as well as tea drinking and potato tasting.
A source: https://ampravda.ru/