Alexander Rudnikov, Head of the GRIMME Representative Office in the Republic of Belarus
About 1,1 million tons of potatoes are grown annually in the industrial sector of the Republic of Belarus. Both large enterprises (public and private) and small farms, the number of which is growing from year to year, contribute to this result.
Vitebsk region, Tolochinsky district
Farmland area - more than 8 thousand hectares, about 900 hectares under potatoes
Director - Anatoly Vasilievich Anyukhovsky
One of the oldest enterprises in Belarus (built in 1906). Since 2006, it has been a member of the Scientific and Practical Center of the National Academy of Sciences for Potato and Horticulture.
The plant is engaged in the cultivation of potatoes, grains and oilseeds, as well as their seeds; conducts industrial gardening; has retail and catering outlets; is a major agricultural processor: annually produces about 1 tons of potato starch, 6 million liters of juices and nectars, 810 thousand decaliters of fruit and berry wines.
The "potato" direction has long been one of the key ones for the enterprise. On the basis of the Tolochin cannery, new varieties are being tested, created by scientists of the Scientific and Practical Center of the National Academy of Sciences for Potato and Fruit and Vegetable Growing; a significant volume of seed potatoes is produced and sold to the country's farms.
In general, 45-48 thousand tons of potatoes are grown here annually with a yield of 500 and more c / ha.
Since 2015, the plant has put into operation a full complex for storing potatoes, equipped with equipment for pre-sale processing of products. A significant part of it is shipped for export to Russia, and from 2019 to Ukraine.
In the first quarter of 2021, the Tolochin cannery plans to put into operation a quick-freezing shop. Here they will make French fries from their own raw materials, using the domestic innovative technology of flattening and thin-layer breading (liquid and dry breading). The capacity of the line is 3,6 thousand tons per year, if necessary, it can be doubled. The production will allow fully the needs of the republic in this type of product and export supplies.
Peasant farm "Diana"
Mogilev region, Shklov district
The area of farmland is more than 3 thousand hectares, of which about 1000 hectares are under potatoes
Head of the farm - Vladimir Isakovich Malinovsky
The Diana farm is one of the largest and most successful private agricultural organizations in Belarus.
The farm was established in October 1991 by Vladimir Isakovich and Svetlana Stefanovna Malinovsky, the name of the enterprise was given in honor of the daughter of farmers. Work began on 50 hectares of land.
Since 1996, the Diana farm has been included in the State Register of Producers, Procurers of Grain Seeds, Legumes, Oilseeds and Potatoes.
Today the main crops for the enterprise are potatoes, winter wheat, winter rapeseed. The farm is engaged in seed production of winter rapeseed, winter and spring cereals; is an elite farm for potatoes
In 2019, the Diana farm was recognized as the largest potato producer in the Republic of Belarus: about 1000 thousand tons of products were obtained from an area of 58 hectares.
The farm annually grows eight to ten different varieties of potatoes, different groups of ripeness. Achievements of Belarusian and European selection are presented in the varietal line. The average yield is 600 c / ha.
Table potatoes are sold to Belarusian retail chains, as well as abroad (in the last two years, mainly to Ukraine).
Peasant farm "Diana" owns a powerful modern fleet of machines, which, in particular, includes seven GRIMME potato harvesters. The company pays great attention to the introduction of technologies of "precision farming".
The farm has about 70 employees; during the harvest, their number rises to 150.
FH "Grigory and Sons"
Brest region, Luninets district
Sown area - about 500 hectares, of which 250 hectares are allocated for potatoes, up to 200 hectares - for carrots, 50 hectares - for table beets
Head of the farm - Grigory Alekseevich Bogdan
The farm was established in 2003 by Grigory Alekseevich Bogdan. It all started with 44 hectares. Almost from the day the enterprise was founded, the whole family of the farmer worked in the fields: his wife Olga Vasilievna Bogdan and three sons: Alexey, Dmitry and Andrey. They had to master all stages of agricultural production "from A to Z".
Today, the farm is engaged in the cultivation of ware potatoes, carrots and beetroot, and also develops seed production: the production of seed potatoes of European (Riviera, Colomba, Bernina, Madeira, Queen Anna), as well as Belarusian (Vectar) varieties. The emphasis is on European selection, since, according to the owners of the farm, German and Dutch varieties are currently more in demand on the market. About 30% of the area is allocated for the cultivation of seed potatoes. Each season, the farm brings in about 100-150 tons of seeds from Europe, of which 40-60 tons of seeds of new varieties. In 2021, the company purchased elite potatoes of Donata and Ricarda varieties.
The products are sold mainly to the Russian Federation (80%), to Ukraine, to Moldova, as well as to the domestic market.
The enterprise owns a full line of potato equipment from leading European manufacturers and is equipped with modern vegetable storage facilities (with a total capacity of 20 tons). At the end of 000, the farm purchased equipment for washing and packaging potatoes and plans to put it into operation by July this year.
For irrigation, mainly on seed plots, drum-type installations are used. But the company is going to buy circular machines in the near future and provide irrigation for up to 60-70% of the area.
The farm employs 15 people on a permanent basis, and during the harvesting season the number of employees rises to 50.
As one of the heads of the farm, Aleksey Bogdan, notes, ware potatoes can not be called a profitable crop every year. It helps that the company also produces seed potatoes and vegetables. The farm tries to invest the resulting profit in equipment and technologies that help to increase yields and marketability.
“Fifteen years ago, at the very beginning of our work, we grew products of average quality,” says Aleksey Bogdan, “then it did not matter: the buyer did not look closely at the type of potatoes, the main thing was to get the volume. But every year the product became more difficult to sell, we had to rebuild and change our approaches. Every year we improved our technology, purchased new equipment, and introduced innovations. Our products now meet the stringent requirements of the market, and this is the main condition for success. If there is no quality, profit can no longer be obtained at the expense of volume, this path can only lead to losses. "
Minsk region, Logoisk district
Director - Daria Olegovna Nedroshlyanskaya
Sown area - 700 hectares, of which 130 hectares are under potatoes
The company was founded by an association of French farmers. Previously, they supplied their products to Russia, but with the introduction of the embargo, the trade had to be stopped. The entrepreneurs decided not to lose the sales market and to open the production of table potatoes in a country with a favorable climate and a common customs area with the Russian Federation. The Republic of Belarus perfectly matched these conditions.
The farm was established in 2015. The volume of investments amounted to more than 1 euros.
The founders combined the name of the enterprise from three parts: "bel" - means Belarusian; "Truf" is associated with a root crop, that is, something that has grown in the ground; and “relish” is, of course, taste.
Today the company is engaged in the production of varieties of European selection (Bavaria-Saat, Solana, etc.), but the seeds are purchased exclusively from French producers. As the director of the farm Daria Nedroshlyanskaya explains, the founders insist on this, because they know very well how scrupulous French seed growers treat the production of seeds - from approaches to storing products, protecting them from diseases, and ending with such subtleties as preparing seeds for sale (calibrating them under the same size), which greatly facilitates the process of planting and calculating the seeding rate.
Every year, the import of seeds is overgrown with new difficulties. “We try to fulfill all the conditions,” the director of the enterprise comments on the problem, “we take samples, transfer the tubers for analysis and take all sorts of obligations not to resell the seed material or sell it only for export, but we still feel insecure because we don’t know what will happen. next year".
In the organization of work, the farm is also guided by European examples. “Our founders are very detailed in their work, every little thing, every detail is important to them, they treat potatoes like an egg and demand the same from us. This is very important if you focus on quality over quantity, ”adds the head of the company.
The crop rotation uses grains, rapeseed and corn, which allows the farm to use the land correctly and return to the field with potatoes every four years.
From the first year of operation, the farm has introduced irrigation equipment. “Irrigation adds about 20 tons per hectare to us,” notes Daria Nedroshlyanskaya, “and given that the situation with natural precipitation has not been stable for the past three years, irrigation saves the situation.”
During the work, the team of the enterprise has already received six harvests. At first, only three varieties of potatoes were grown, then the line was expanded to six.
The choice of varieties is based on the needs of consumers, in addition, the yield, suitability for cultivation in a given region (the peculiarity of the farm is peat soils), and disease resistance are taken into account. Some varieties are excluded from production if the experience with them was unsuccessful, new products are introduced annually to replace them.
“We had very interesting experiments,” says the director of the farm, “when we imported varieties not registered in the Republic of Belarus with a special permit from the Ministry of Agriculture: for example, Sheri, Sissi (under the obligation to sell all the grown potatoes for export). We got great results then. "
Most of the farm's production is exported. The main directions are the Russian Federation, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, Georgia. Requests are received from other countries, but I have not had any experience with them yet. The volumes of supplies to each country change annually for objective reasons. Last year there was a good harvest in Russia, and the farm shipped only 10-15 cars there, and this year the main flow of the grown is going there.
The company is equipped with equipment for washing and packing potatoes (from 1 to 25 kg) and tries to sell potatoes with the highest added value.
We can say that the farm is confidently occupying its niche in the market. “At the beginning it was quite difficult for us,” recalls Daria Nedroshlyanskaya, “but now we have“ our own ”customers. Of course, there is competition, but this is rather good than bad. "
The company is thinking about increasing production, but is not ready to move on to this step until the issue of expanding storage space is resolved, and this requires significant investments. “Now we feel an increase in demand, the price is growing,” says the head of the enterprise, “at such moments, you only regret that there is no storage facility where you can store more potatoes, because the surplus has to be sold at the beginning of the season at a low cost”.
Summing up the results of this small review, it can be noted that Belarusian potato growers face the same difficulties as Russian ones: there are seasons when the industry suffers from weather disasters and crop failure; but the years of overproduction and sales problems become more difficult. Everyone has one way out: improving the cultivation technology, working to obtain the highest quality product that is always in demand on the market.