This will allow crop producers and processors to receive state support (in the form of preferential short-term loans, compensation for part of the costs of creating processing capacities).
The unique properties of Jerusalem artichoke were discussed at a meeting of the Committee on Agrarian Food Policy and Nature Management of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation as part of the Days of the Lipetsk Region taking place here. The vice-governor of the region, Igor Kremnev, reported that the region is already seriously considering this plant. In particular, a Jerusalem artichoke processing plant operates in Dankov. The capacities of the enterprise allow processing up to 500 tons of tubers per day.
“This is the first large-scale Jerusalem artichoke processing project in the country, and we are actively developing it. Farms that grow this crop for the plant have already been joined,” Igor Kremnev said.
In Jerusalem artichoke tubers, from 10 to 25% of the mass is inulin, a sugar substitute that is safe for diabetics. And it also improves the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, normalizes fat metabolism, lowers blood cholesterol levels and prevents the development of atherosclerosis of blood vessels.
Inulin is used in foods, confectionery, baked goods, baby and diet food, dietary supplements and even in animal feed. In addition, Jerusalem artichoke, simply by its presence, is able to improve the environment. It absorbs twice as much carbon dioxide from the air as trees. And one hectare of it is able to provide an oxygen concentration in the air sufficient for 60 people, while one hectare of forest is only for 30 people. Jerusalem artichoke crops also require almost no maintenance, they easily tolerate drought, excess moisture and even polar cold. Jerusalem artichoke suppresses weeds and is resistant to most diseases and pests.
The product is in demand on the market, and the risks of stopping supplies are quite high, since inulin is now imported in large quantities - more than 2000 tons - from Europe. The development of this direction can become a significant contribution to import substitution.
Based on the foregoing, the Lipetsk region took the initiative to include Jerusalem artichoke in the list of agricultural products in order to be able to apply current support measures from the Ministry of Agriculture, such as soft short-term loans, compensation for part of the costs of creating processing capacities.
“This is a new topic, but it is interesting from all sides. We need to work it out in detail,” Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Maxim Uvaydov spoke. In turn, Committee Chairman Alexander Dvoinykh emphasized that the Lipetsk Region always sets itself long-term goals and fulfills them with high quality. “There is a strong management team in the region that knows the specifics of the industry well and boldly takes on the implementation of pilot socially important projects,” said Alexander Dvoinykh. In general, the senators liked the idea, and they agreed to support it.
For promising crops, it is necessary to consider the possibilities of improving equipment for planting, harvesting, processing crops, breeding quality varieties and creating our own seed industry, as well as comprehensively addressing the issues of processing and building relevant enterprises.
“Jerusalem artichoke is just such a culture that will solve important issues in terms of food security, improving the health of the nation and increasing the export potential of the region,” said Igor Artamonov, Governor of the Lipetsk Region.