Territory: 53 sq. M. km
Population: 3 people, of which 183% are urban residents.
Geographical position: part of the Volga Federal District; It borders in the west with the Saratov and Ulyanovsk regions, in the southeast with the Orenburg region, in the north with the Republic of Tatarstan, in the south with Kazakhstan.
Climate: temperate continental, more than half of the year anticyclonic type of weather prevails. The average monthly temperature in July is + 21 ° С, in January - 14 ° С. The climate of the region is characterized by long winters with little snow, short springs, hot and dry summers, and short autumn. The territory of the region belongs to the zone of insufficient moisture. The maximum precipitation occurs in June and July.
Relief: the Volga and Samara rivers divide the territory of the region into three parts: the Right Bank, the northern and southern Left Bank. Most of the area (91,2%) lies in the Left Bank. The Kuibyshev and Saratov reservoirs are located within the region. In general, the region has a flat, smooth relief, favorable for the development of agriculture.
Soil area characterized by significant heterogeneity. The soil cover of the forest-steppe zone is represented mainly by leached and typical chernozems, among the latter significant areas are occupied by residual carbonate. The soils of the steppe zone are predominantly represented by ordinary and southern chernozems, less often dark chestnut soils, solonetzes, and their complexes. The vast majority of soils in the region (up to 80%) have clay and heavy loamy texture.
Agricultural land area: 3, 387 thousand. Ha.
MODERN STATE OF THE INDUSTRY. CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
Samara region occupies a special place in the history of modern Russian potato growing. This is one of those regions from which the industry revolution began in Russia in the 90s of the XNUMXth century: the transition to highly mechanized efficient potato production.
Today, Samara potato growers have something to be proud of: they have many years of experience in the production of high-quality seed and ware potatoes, the region occupies one of the leading places in Russia in terms of potato yield (at the end of 2018, the average yield was at the level of 295 c / ha).
However, in recent years, the cultivation area (and, consequently, production volumes) of table potatoes in the region has been steadily declining. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Samara Region, in 2018, potatoes were planted on an area of 4,4 thousand ha in the region (for comparison, in 2012, 7,2 thousand ha were allocated for this crop). In all categories of farms of the potato region, 274,4 thousand tons were collected (90,6% compared to 2017).
The main reasons for the loss of interest of farmers in the crop are clear to all Russian potato growers: low purchase prices for the product, which have been persisting for several years, with growing costs for growing annually.
“Farms are forced to sell potatoes at the same prices as ten years ago,” says Oleg Vinogradov, executive director of the Union of Potato Growers of the Samara Region, “but at that time there were completely different prices for fertilizers, plant protection products, seeds, fuel ...”
According to the estimates of the Union of Potato Breeders, at a cost of production of food potatoes of 250-300 thousand rubles / ha and a yield of 24 t / ha (by product fraction), the cost of growing is 10,4-12,5 rubles / kg, and the price potato purchases on average do not exceed 8,2 rubles / kg, which makes potato production unprofitable for many producers.
Government support for potato growers has declined significantly in recent years. If in 2012, potato producers were compensated for the costs of purchasing mineral fertilizers, plant protection products, and irrigation, in 2019, potato production was not even included in “unrelated” support.
From the existing list of state support measures, potato growers can only hope for soft loans and compensation for the purchase of elite seeds.
In the list of problems of Samara farms, Oleg Vinogradov singles out interaction with federal retail chains, which are the main buyers of ware potatoes.
“Any producer,” notes the executive director of the Union of Potato Growers, “wants to get a decent price for its product. But I am constantly forced to deduct from my income the amounts for entrance and rebates, promotional compensation, etc. It is very difficult to survive in such conditions ”.
In addition, for the second year already, potato growers in the region have been keenly aware of competition from foreign early potato producers: the supply of new potato crops begins in early spring, during this period the region still has enough of its own high-quality product. A significant portion of local potatoes remains unclaimed. According to the Union of Potato Breeders, on April 1, 2019, only 11150 tons of potatoes remained in storage at the warehouses of the farms of the Samara Region.
Of course, this situation in the industry leads to the loss of those positions that the region has held over the past 20 years.
On the other hand, as the chairman of the Union of potato growers of the Samara region, head of the seed company "Molyanov Agro Group" Vladimir Molyanov emphasizes, the current situation cannot be considered exceptional both for the region and for the country as a whole. “This is not the first time the region's potato growers have faced difficulties,” he says. - We survived the drought of 2010, a record drop in prices in the over-harvest 2015. In those difficult years, farms survived, which learned to produce a product with minimal costs. It is still relevant now. "
The second component on the path to success, according to Molyanov, should be work on product quality: “For almost 30 years of intensive development of potato growing in the region, they learned to grow a lot. It remains to achieve a compromise between quantity and quality. ”
The Chairman of the Union of Potato Breeders notes that the issue of the struggle for quality is multifaceted. Here we can talk about the need for the introduction of modern varieties suitable for washing and packaging; and the importance of the development of land reclamation, and the mandatory observance of crop rotation rules and many more factors.
“One can complain that ten rubles per kilogram is a low price,” says Vladimir Molyanov, “but studying the European experience, we understand that the farmer there gets about that much for his product. It is necessary to learn to live in these conditions, to take into account all risk factors, to use all the opportunities for saving, not to plant "at random", with the hope that somewhere the neighbors will not rise, freeze and die. This is a difficult, but the only possible way. The rest will not survive this race. "
The head of the Union of Potato Breeders of the region suggests focusing on this path to the flagship enterprises of the region: “We have enterprises that have achieved great success in growing potatoes, but they do not stop at their positions. Peasant farm “Tsirulev”, for example, annually introduces new varieties, masters technical achievements. This is a lot of work, but without this there will be no result. ”
SELECTION AND SEEDING
In the early 90s, potato yields in the farms of the Samara region were at the level of 60-70 kg / ha. During this period, lots of imported seed potatoes began to flow into the region (mainly of German selection: one of the first suppliers was the German division of Solana). In the fields where foreign potatoes were grown, the yield reached unprecedented then 330 c / ha.
Over time, part of the seed material of imported varieties began to be produced already in the Samara region. Foreign experts not only controlled the cultivation process, but also conducted active work in testing and selecting new crossed lines, and obtained interesting results. It was then that traditions were laid, thanks to which the region today retains the status of seed production. About 10 thousand tons of high-reproduction seed potatoes are sold annually outside the Samara Region.
In the mid-90s, in the wake of a general interest in the crop, potato breeding and seed production were also started in the scientific institutes of the region, which had previously focused more on wheat and maize traditional for the region. So, the specialists of the Samara Research Institute of Agriculture created three potato varieties included in the State Register of Selection Achievements: Samara (2002), Zhigulevsky (2006) and Bezenchuksky (2016).
Today, the Samara Research Institute of Agriculture continues to work on breeding and seed production of potatoes: a program has been developed for accelerated reproduction and introduction of healthy seed material free of viral, viroid, fungal and other infections using biotechnological methods, a bank of healthy potato varieties that are most adapted to the agroclimatic conditions of the Samara region has been formed.
Further cultivation of seeds of superelite, elite and the first reproduction is organized in specialized seed-growing enterprises of the region.
FSBSI "Samara Research Institute of Agriculture" (together with the Samara Agrarian University, LLC "Agrostar" and three seed enterprises) is a member of the Federal Scientific and Technical Program for the Development of Agriculture for 2017-2025. - a comprehensive scientific and technical project "Development of potato breeding and seed production in the Samara region", which was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Samara region. The main objectives of the project are the creation of new varieties with high productivity potential, the production of effective biological products and the improvement of the quality of seed potatoes. By 2025, the project is expected to obtain four new varieties of potatoes.
Today in the Samara region there is not a single large enterprise for the deep processing of potatoes, although the question of the need to open such a production in the professional community has been raised repeatedly. The prospects of producing chips, french fries, modified potato starch were considered. From the point of view of industry experts, it is starch that is more in demand on the market today. This product is used in many industries, its consumption is growing from year to year, but in our country it is practically not available.
However, according to Vladimir Molyanov, this topic needs more careful study. “It is important not just to build a plant,” the head of the Union of Potato Growers explains his position, “but to launch production, investments in which will pay off, and within a time frame that we understand. This means that it is necessary to assess the market capacity, identify potential competitors (including those who are just planning to open production), calculate the logistics costs ... And find an investor if the project is really recognized as beneficial for the region. " Given the potential investment, this will be challenging.
Almost all Samara potatoes (up to 99%), produced in the industrial sector of the region, are grown on watering. Nevertheless, the Samara region until recently was not included in the number of territories where the development of land reclamation is considered the main condition for increasing yields and increasing the profitability of agricultural production, and accordingly, all the resources and resources are allocated for the development of this direction.
“Probably, the whole point is that our region is located on the border of the arid zone, we have crops (cereals, for example) that can do without artificial irrigation,” explains Vladimir Molyanov. "In areas where it is generally difficult to imagine that something would grow without water, the attitude to land reclamation is completely different."
But the situation is gradually changing. The development of land reclamation is recognized as the main event of the regional component of the federal project “Export of agricultural products”, within the framework of which more than 2019 thousand hectares of irrigated land will be introduced in the agricultural sector of the region in 2021-4,8. For these purposes, the provision of subsidies to the budget of the Samara region in the amount of 395,7 million rubles is provided.
According to the information of the Samarameliovodkhoz FSBI, last year the state system covered over 20 thousand ha with irrigation. This year, irrigation plans are about 23 thousand hectares.
In 2019, it also provides for subsidizing from the regional budget 20% of the cost of paying for irrigation water supply services for agricultural organizations, which will put into operation land reclamation facilities this year.
Most of the potato farms in the region are fully provided with their own facilities for storing grown products. The total capacity of potato storages today is about 130 thousand tons, which is about 90% of the need.
Since 2018, the Samara agricultural park has been operating in the regional center. This is a wholesale and distribution center with an area of 30 thousand square meters. m, intended for storage and sale of agricultural products (primarily fruit and vegetable). A full range of equipment has been installed on the territory of the ORC for part-time and packaging of potatoes and vegetables.
Any farm can use it to bring its products in line with the requirements of retail chains. Nevertheless, as Oleg Vinogradov notes, there are not so many people who want to take advantage of the agricultural park: most large producers have their own equipment, and small enterprises, as a rule, sell their products through intermediaries.
Although it is possible that over time, the ORC format will still gain popularity in the region. For example, among agricultural cooperatives for which it was originally developed.
The basic university providing training on the profile of the agricultural sector in the region is Samara State Agrarian University. The university has a long history, tens of thousands of highly qualified specialists have come out of its walls.
Today, the university provides training at six faculties: Agronomy, Biotechnology and Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Technological, Economic, Continuing Education and Continuing Education. Future leaders in the agricultural sector gain knowledge at the Institute of Management Technologies and the Agricultural Market, which is also a structural unit of the university.
In 2019, admission is open for 1811 places (1308 students will be admitted to the first year for undergraduate programs, 100 students for the specialty program, 403 students for the master's programs).
In recent years, the university has been actively introducing a practice-oriented form of education: for senior students, theoretical and practical training takes approximately the same amount of time. Moreover, students learn the basics of practical work at the most advanced enterprises of the Samara agricultural industry.
It should be noted that the region pays great attention to supporting young professionals who have chosen to work in the countryside. As part of the implementation of the law of the Samara region 28-GD "On state support for the personnel potential of the Samara region" graduates with specialized higher education who are hired for the first time under an employment contract in an agricultural organization or a peasant (farm) farm receive a lump sum payment of 69 thousand rubles , graduates with specialized secondary education - 34,5 thousand rubles.