Russia is losing the chance to import French fries in food chains and remains highly dependent on European suppliers. The country has neither a market for its own seeds, nor equipment. In the coming years, the situation will not change, News.ru found out.
Country loses war on imported potatoes
French fries are one of the most popular food products. But the share of its deliveries from domestic producers to fast food restaurants is minimal. In 2014, after the entry into force of counter-sanctions, the relevant ministries and businesses were not ready to organize the processing of fries. So Russia missed a chance to abandon a foreign tuber.
The first state programs of the Ministry of Agriculture appeared when the degree of state dependence on chips and fries became clear. Over decades of downtime, the country has lost engineering technology in the food industry, seed production and breeding, cultivation and processing.
Import substitution of crops should begin with seeds, explains Alexei Meleshin, deputy director of the All-Russian Research Institute of Potato Economy named after Lorch. It is high-yielding varieties that ensure product success in the market.
Officials recalled the industry a year and a half ago, when we recognized the failure with domestic seeds for table potatoes, chips and fries. But in such a time, we can grow only one field generation. The material needs 4-5 years to go into circulation, when we can fry our fries, - says Melyoshin.
Two years ago, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation launched the subprogram “Development of selection and seed production of potatoes” for the 2017 – 2025 years. It is designed to give an impetus to the industry and achieve parity with imported material by 2025. However, these measures are clearly not enough, the expert notes.
At first, state support concerned everything that is in the Russian State Register of selection achievements allowed for use, despite the fact that most of it is import. It took us about five years for officials to realize: there is our material, there is conditionally ours and, finally, material from abroad- says the expert.
Today, foreign companies, in fact, are forbidden to engage in selection in the territory of the Russian Federation, but at the same time, the state does not create either new schools or factories. Laboratories appear in science cities and institutes, but time and resources are needed to train specialists.
We do not have a single state tuber processing plant. Same thing in seed production. Major global players in the industry are private. And business is used to working with business- says Meleshin. - We need a competitive environment for such companies. In the Russian Federation, this sector is actually strangled today. If we stop supporting state institutions, we will fall.
Almost all breeding in the country is carried out by state institutions, and for business in the regions the tests are difficult. Since last August, private traders have been forced to pay huge amounts of money for tests. So, in the Central region, such a procedure for one potato variety is 600 thousand rubles, costs have increased 100 times.
We do almost nothing ourselves. Russian manufacturers of fries will have to start from scratch. We have no equipment. Have to buy in Europe or China. So, we will always be behind. They will use advanced developments at home, and we will sell second-hand. For our varieties to buy, we need government investment in the production and development of new products. But the first results will be in 5-10 years. And we can compete in our market in 8–10- notes Meleshin.
Import substitution is not serious
Схемы, которые сделали Россию «картофельной колонией», работают до сих пор. Так, если отечественное предприятие покупает сорт в ЕС, то фактически не сможет получить хороший урожай без средств химзащиты растений и сельхозтехники из той же страны или от партнёров корпорации. Другими словами, когда российская компания закупает технику, поставщики всегда советуют свои, местные сорта для хрустящего картофеля или иного продукта с которыми работают на протяжении десятилетий. Такие компании дают гарантию, что при использовании их семян будет урожай, а при выращивании на российских – нет.
Ещё один способ предполагает закупки семенного иностранного продукта под видом товарного (т.н. серая схема, когда по бумагам проходит другой товар). И, наконец, выращивание импортного клубня на территории РФ, выдавая его за местный. Всё это привело к тому, что в наших супермаркетах почти весь картофель, по сути, иностранный.
European companies in Russia are only interested in genetic resources to create their own varieties. And domestic developments are practically not used in catering. As a rule, the leading fast food chains are American or European and, firstly, support their suppliers, and secondly, the local business does not plant the required volumes of seed material. So, the leaders in the market of crisp potatoes in Russia PepsiCo and Lamb Weston require 100-300 tons for frying for more detailed tests. But how to do this, if, according to experts, the support of producers of high-yielding seeds in the EU is € 500 per hectare, and in the country - 1 thousand rubles?
In Europe, at least 50% of the harvested root crops are used for processing, and in Belgium - more than 80%, says Alexey Krasilnikov, Executive Director of the Potato Union.
Starch processing ditched- the interlocutor admitted. - For various reasons, the former plants switched to grain, wheat and corn. Starch in the country today is produced only at 2-3 enterprises in a small volume. Only 228 thousand tons are processed for raw materials. About 0,5 million tons of processing goes to chips.
Experts note that investment in processing is hindered by barriers. First of all, this is the high cost of construction, connection to infrastructure and certification.
The head of the potato lab at Perm Research Institute of Agriculture Nikolay Chukhlantsev points to the underdevelopment of the French fries industry in the country, noting the popularity of traditional dishes.
First of all, you need a deep fryer to prepare this dish. Not everyone has it. And secondly, the business does not go to processing. Varieties for the cultivation of french fries in the Russian Federation are. It can be grown in any climate zone, only the taste will be different. But today, such a product is easier to buy in a supermarket than to grow. In Russia, this is a highly specialized product. Seeds are more relevant to us today. Need to kill European domestic, and then deal with other areas- the expert complains.
An attempt to fry fries in the Russian Federation
Those producers who are trying to create joint ventures in Russia for the production of fries openly admit that they use foreign varieties of potatoes. So, for example, we are talking about the Dutch variety "innovator". Bred in the 1990s in the Netherlands, since the 2000s it is listed in the register of selection achievements in the Russian Federation.
Foreign companies are lobbying their interests, and if they see a competitor, they will pragmatically “push” their business into our territory. They will not allow the supply of seeds, they will import a commodity [product], - Meleshin is convinced.
В торговой цепочке Россия — конечный потребитель, вся прибыль уходит на Запад. По сути, в чипсы и фри заложена цена на исходные семена и сырьё. А отечественное сети брать не будут, полагают эксперты и будут до последнего упираться, чтобы держать свои звенья поставок. А если их товар не пойдёт через Европу, то пойдёт через Афганистан, Иран или Турцию, заключают эксперты.
A source: https://news.ru/