While Ukraine is flooding with rains, and villagers complain that they can’t "get" into the garden to spill potatoes, the AgroPortal.ua editors undertook to study the potato market, because potatoes are still the "second bread" of most households in Ukraine.
Ukraine takes the 4th place in the world in terms of gross production of potatoes, producing more than 20 million tons annually. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2018, the gross production of potatoes amounted to 22504 thousand tons with an average yield of 170,5 c / ha. 98% of potatoes are still grown in household plots - 22087,6 thousand tons.
As for the area under potatoes, 1303,7 thousand ha are planted by the population and 16,2 thousand ha - by agricultural producers. At the same time, the average potato yield in households amounted to 169,4 c / ha, and in industrial cultivation - 252 c / ha.
Professional farmers vs households
“Professional farms have a competitor in the person of a private trader who does not consider the economy at all and is engaged in potatoes in order to survive. This is a completely different philosophy, - says the doctor of agricultural sciences, professor, head of the department of agrochemistry and quality of crop production. A.I. Dushechkina NUBiP of Ukraine, corresponding member of NAAS of Ukraine Anatoly Bykin. “In Ukraine there are very few professional farms with at least 10 ha of potatoes, but they cover the needs of the population, the rest is simple commodity production that comes from the household.”
The potato business is costly starting from the field, because you need a specific technique that is not used when growing other vegetables: planter, comb-former, etc. And the seeds will have to be spent.
“The cost of seeds of the first reproduction is approximately 10 UAH / kg, storage is +1 UAH, and I would also like to earn 1-1,5 UAH, it turns out that the first reproduction costs 12-14 UAH,” Bykin believes. - Now you, as a commodity producer, want to buy 10 tons of this grade. You need 3,5 tons per hectare, that is 35 * 14 = 490 UAH / t, we add 70 UAH for cultivation. Therefore, marketable potatoes are cheaper than UAH 4-5, and it does not happen, and the farmer is the last in line for profit. ”
Anatoly Bykin knows everything about the difficulties of the potato business, because he has been doing this business for 19 years. His enterprise Biotech LTD is engaged in the cultivation of potatoes. The farmer believes that the potato market is wild, because it is pressed by households that do not consider the economy, but simply throw goods on the market at any price. At a time when the cost of the farmers 4 UAH, they sell at 2 UAH. It is clear who will choose the consumer.
However, the immediate prospect is unchanged. According to the Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Volodymyr Topchiy, the vast majority of potatoes will be grown on the households for several more years, since it is the “second bread” on the tables of ordinary Ukrainians, some of which is used to feed private livestock. This situation is not only in Ukraine, but in many post-Soviet countries.
“The main factors hindering the large-scale industrial production of potatoes in Ukraine are the lack of powerful exports, because the EU countries for phytosanitary and other reasons do not allow Ukraine, as a country, to sell it on its territory, as well as the ban that introduced in 2015 on its territory Russian Federation. We have small volumes of potato processing for food and technical purposes, ”says Vladimir Topchy. - However, Ukrainian potatoes still tend to gradually increase their area under industrial cultivation. Chinese investors are currently ready to invest in the construction of two potato plants in the Kiev and Chernihiv regions. Also, part of the global environmental strategy for replacing plastic products with partial starch content affects the increase in industrial crops for potatoes. ”
Processing - “finicky aunt”
Potato growing is a rather complicated business, and if processing does not pick it up, it becomes unprofitable. According to Anatoly Bykin, processing is similar to a “finicky aunt,” who needs quality and volume not only in the season, but throughout the year.
“Not a single investor will agree to invest, if the factory operates 150 days a year, a minimum of 330 is needed,” he says. - And the minimum batch is 22 tons of homogeneous, high-quality and material intended for a specific product. It is clear that the grandfather from the village will not be able to cover such volumes, therefore, the future lies with agricultural enterprises, ”says Anatoly Bykin.
In Ukraine today, the main directions of processing potatoes are the production of potato starch, chips and french fries.
According to the Association of Potato and Starch Producers of Ukraine, four enterprises are currently involved in the production of potato starch. Vimal, in the Chernihiv region, has two production sites for 150 tons of potato processing per day and opened in October last year for 1440 tons of potato processing per day. PE “Levona” (Chernihiv region) and LLC “Starch products of Ukraine” (Kiev region) have 200 tons of processing per day. The combined agricultural holding CFG / MRIYA has two production sites for 150 tons of potato processing per day and opened in 2013 for 600 tons of potato processing per day. It is worth noting that until 2000, 17 specialized potato starch production enterprises operated in Ukraine.
As for the production of chips, they are engaged in the Club of Chips Club LLC (Dnipro) and the Chips Lux LLC (Kiev Region), which cooperate with approximately 20-30 farms. The production of french fries is carried out by PJSC "Corporation" Interagrosystem "in the Chernihiv region.
“The question is, why aren't there so many processors? Because the instability in the country and the market is cut off: in the territories - 7-10%, in the economy - 20%, in the market for potato consumption - as much as 50%, because Donbass, Crimea and Russia consumed a lot of potatoes. And now half of the market just collapsed. Therefore, for the development of potato growing in the country there must be a favorable economic and political climate, ”says Bykin.
Will potatoes disappear from large producers?
About 500 thousand tons of potatoes are processed annually in Ukraine, compared to production - this is nothing. Many holdings that have been growing potatoes for years are gradually abandoning it, they say it is unprofitable. But still there are those who are trying to raise the potato industry to a new European level.
This season, in the agricultural holding CFG / MRIYA, an area of 2 thousand hectares has been allocated for potatoes in the Ternopil and Lviv regions. The company intends to maintain the trend of expanding the area under this crop by an average of 400-500 ha annually.
When planning space in an agricultural holding, they focus on customer needs, because the main partners are Ukrainian and international chip manufacturers. A small part of the total volume is sold in bulk or sent for processing (starch), while the lion's share (including seed) is contracted for customers.
Historically, MRIA and CFG have always been seriously engaged in growing potatoes and have all the necessary facilities for this, and this direction will undoubtedly remain strategic for the combined company. Also, the presence of potatoes in crop rotation has a positive effect on indicators and helps to differentiate crop risks.
New players appear on the market, for example, BestPotato, which already in the fall of 2019 plans to launch a new project related to the potato business and processing using the most modern technologies.
Without seed, the variety is dead
To date, 186 varieties of domestic and foreign potato varieties have been included in the State Register of Plant Varieties Suitable for Distribution in Ukraine, 63 of which were created by the Institute of Potato Breeding.
The distribution of potato varieties of the Institute of Potato breeding by ripeness group
|Ripeness group||Vehetatsyonnыy period||Number of varieties||Popular varieties|
|Superearly||60-80 days||3||Thinking, Look Up, Duma|
|Early ripe||80-100 days||17||Move, Serpent, Treasure, Cimmeria, Shchedryk, Sluta, Tiras|
|Average||101-115 days||13||Svitanok Kiev, Levada, Fantasy, Mezhirichka 11, Aria, Strumok|
|Mid-season||116-125 days||25||Princess, Ivankovsky early, Letana, Miroslav, Charunka, Yavor, Slavyanka, Solokha|
|Mid-late||126-140 days||5||Sluch, Red rue, Polissye source|
According to the Institute of Potato, among the varieties of foreign selection, the largest volumes in 2018 for the cultivation of seed potatoes were noted for the varieties: Opal, Red Lady, Riviera, Verdi, Kibits, Melody, Aurea.
However, the process of creating a new variety is quite lengthy - 8-10 years must pass before it is transferred to the state variety test, and then another 2-3 years of testing on the variety sections of the Ukrainian Institute for the Expertise of Plant Varieties with subsequent inclusion in the Variety Register. That is, every year 3-6 new potato varieties are transferred to the state variety test by the Institute of Potato Selection.
For the period 2015-2019 21 varieties of potato breeding of the Institute of Potato Growing were included in the Register of Plant Varieties of Ukraine. This year, the registry has replenished with five new varieties: Basalia, Vanguard, Alexandrite, Photinia and Tradition. 9 varieties of potatoes undergo state variety testing: Alliance, Volodarka, Opilya, Bazhan, Sontsedar, Mystery, Granary, Rodyn, Harmony.
“The main task of the institute is to support seed production, and in order to support it, there must be a buyer. It turns out a vicious circle: a Ukrainian farmer cannot buy seeds because they are not on the market, and a research institution cannot propagate them because there is no buyer. Therefore, many manufacturers prefer foreign varieties, ”says Anatoly Bykin.
The production of potato seed material at the Potato Institute and its Polessky Research Department for 2018 amounted to 1161,696 tons of seeds. The Potato Institute annually sells about 700-1000 tons of elite potato seed material.
Climate change = technology change
Potato belt has traditionally been formed in Ukraine: Lviv, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kiev, Chernihiv, Sumy regions. Mostly early varieties are grown in the south, because there you can get two crops.
“In the south of Ukraine, seed production is very difficult, because there is a large degeneration and background of virus carriers. There are insects such as aphids, which have a spiny oral apparatus: they sat on a plant, pierced, sucked the juice and flew to another. If she sat on a diseased plant, then she took the virus with her trunk and transferred it to a healthy one. The smaller the background of the virus carriers, the cleaner the potato. If we want to get small yields, then we can not pay attention to it, but if we want to get an economically viable crop, the break-even point will fluctuate between 25-30 t / ha - this is the amount of potatoes that you need to use to cover everything expenses, ”says the owner of Biotech LTD.
According to Bykin, potatoes are very sensitive to climate change. It has a poorly developed root system. If 20 years ago, a stressful temperature period lasted several days in the zone of its cultivation, now it is 2 months. In this regard, drought-resistant varieties and foliar fertilizing are needed in order to help the plant withstand stress (June / July), then it will cope on its own. In technology, it is better to use domestic varieties, because they are better adapted to weather conditions and climate change.
A source: http://agroportal.ua/