In 2020, a roadmap was developed and approved to improve the fruit and berry industry in the Russian Federation. The document covered the areas of horticulture, berry production and nursery. The agenda includes such issues as providing the industry with equipment, plant protection products, planting material and storage. The Russian Federation has excellent potential for the rapid improvement of the fruit and berry sector: a wide variety of climatic zones, investor interest, developing technologies and a capacious domestic market. With the participation of related departments and development institutions, the set goals can be achieved in 2023.
With regard to the fruit and berry sector, there is a threshold value of at least 60%, but the self-sufficiency of the Russian Federation in 2019 was below 40%. It is believed that the optimal consumption of fruits and berries = 100 kg per year for 1 person, but in the last 5 years it has not exceeded 60 kg.
Due to late frosts in 2020, the apple harvest was 33% lower than in 2019. In 2018, huge apple orchards were planted, so a record harvest is predicted in 2021, which in turn should lead to a drop in prices for apples in stores.
In the apple industry, the main task is import substitution. Apple production is growing every year, and with the same growth rate, the Russian Federation will be able to fully provide itself with apples in 5 years.
Domestic berries are also in constant competition with imported ones. For example, in 2019, the berry harvest amounted to 18 thousand tons, and imports - 55 thousand tons. Russia desperately needs its producers, as well as technologies that allow growing berries all year round. Among other things, there is a shortage of modern high-tech fruit storage facilities and equipment for preserving the freshness of fruits and berries. To solve these problems, it is necessary to stimulate the industry, equip it with modern technology and equipment, enter foreign markets, and introduce intensive production technologies. All this is extremely difficult without state support.
To support domestic producers, they want to cancel customs preferences for imported plums, pears, apples and quince from developing countries. For example, in the summertime in the Russian Federation there is a huge amount of locally produced apples, but it is more profitable for the consumer to buy Polish apples at a cost of 10 rubles per kg. Domestic producers cannot compete with such a price and, as a result, their products are stale and not bought, then deteriorate. Therefore, the possibility of importing apples only in the low season is being discussed. In terms of berries, a huge amount is exported from Europe and China, especially in the off-season.
Again, everything rests on the problem of a lack of fruit storage, which not all companies can build for themselves. Restraining imports during the high season is the most obvious solution to this problem and will lead to less competition. On the other hand, the obvious does not mean correct, it hinders the development of the market. It is necessary to address the issue of increasing the competitiveness of domestic apples by increasing the price-quality ratio, their keeping quality and marketability, as well as reducing the cost of production and improving the breeding base.
The developed roadmap provides for modernization in the technical and technological components of the fruit and berry sector. Unfortunately, most of the planted gardens in the Russian Federation are low-intensity ones. The main goal at the moment is to spread intensive and super-intensive orchards for the production of fruits and berries both indoors and outdoors. From them, you can get more high-quality harvest, which is also more stable during storage. Here one cannot do without state support in the form of per hectare support for the establishment of intensive orchards, as well as assistance in the design and construction of fruit storage facilities.
Lack of storage facilities for fruit and berry products is perhaps the industry's biggest problem. About 1 million tons of apples are produced every year, but due to the lack of storage facilities, large volumes of fruits have to be sold by the end of November. As a result, there is nothing to sell in the winter and imports appear. You can increase the area under the gardens as much as you like, but if there is no opportunity to store the products produced, then the gardeners will only have to continue selling their crops in the high season for a penny.
The Association of Gardeners asks the Ministry of Agriculture to reconsider its support for producers building fruit storage facilities. For large agricultural holdings, their construction is relatively inexpensive, but for small farms it is an unaffordable cost. Therefore, it is necessary to provide financial support specifically to small firms and subsidize 60% of the cost of building storage facilities.
Another problem that needs to be solved is the provision of horticultural farms with equipment. At the moment, preferential loan rates, as well as the possibility of leasing, apply to the purchase of new equipment, as well as to its modernization. But there is one “but” - the list of preferential cars is very small, and those that exist are mostly imported. Their purchase and maintenance are more expensive than domestic ones. Therefore, the roadmap takes into account the wishes for the development of special machines for gardening and nursery growing, as well as the establishment of serial production in the country.
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