Marat Akhmetov about the harvest 2018: ''About 4 million tonnes is quite enough for Tatarstan''

TAIF and Tatneft have saved the sowing campaign by providing the villagers with diesel fuel at 6 rubles a litre

Marat Akhmetov about the harvest 2018: ''About 4 million tonnes is quite enough for Tatarstan'' Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

''We are the first in the country in milk production, we are in the top five by meat and in the top ten by sugar beet,'' Minister of Agriculture and Food Marat Akhmetov listed the successes of Tatarstan farmers on 9 October. At the presidential reception of the heroes of the 2018 harvest, Rustam Minnikhanov traditionally awarded the best farmers from different farms and thanked oil and gas workers to loud applause. According to the ministry of agriculture, Tatarstan fuel and energy complex has helped the village this year with 2-3 billion rubles this year, and the federal centre has recently sent a ''Medvedev'' payment order for 400 million rubles to compensate for losses from the May increase in prices for diesel fuel.

Golden field of presidential reception

Every year after the harvesting, the president of Tatarstan invites all those who fought valiantly for the harvest of the year to a solemn reception. This time, however, it struck the eye that there have been not so many winners of the harvest, and awards for the entire army of thousands of farmers were given only to 16 best leaders. Besides, the scale of the celebration was noticeably truncated. If last year the festive reception was held in the huge sports hall of the Volga Academy of Physical Culture and Sports, this time the celebration has taken place in much narrower composition of VIP-guests. The question of change of place was not particularly stressed, although the answer was obvious: after all, last year the villagers for the first time in many years miraculously equalled the record harvest of 5 million tonnes, while this year they have harvested only 3,8 million tonnes. Although they did not even dreamt to reach 5-million bar, but still collected less than the planned volume (4,2 million tonnes).

The interior of the foyer was brightly decorated and stylized: the floor was covered with a solid golden coating ''like an eared field'', the wall on one side was decorated with photo wallpapers with views of a wheat field with green forest

Grants to farmers

Before the celebration ceremony, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Tatarstan Rishat Khabipov told reporters what new measures to support the villagers were being prepared by the federal authorities. ''The ministry of agriculture is developing a new national project to support farmers in four areas,'' he said. ''Tatarstan intends to participate in each of them. Preliminary calculations have already been submitted. The level of co-financing is defined as 81% (RF) by 19% (RT). In total, Tatarstan declared 450 million rubles.'' According to Khabipov, it is expected, in particular, to support farmers who will receive grants from 3 to 4 million rubles to open new jobs. However, their projects should be with the participation of 1/4 share of the agricultural cooperative. Besides, funds will be allocated for the development of cooperatives themselves if they provide 10 per cent growth. The subsidization of competence centres for the development of agricultural cooperatives is added — they will be subsidized by the results of their efficiency. This programme is designed for 5 years — until 2025, the deputy minister said. According to Khabipov, small farms produce more than half of the total gross output, but the share of farmers is still 18%: ''These programmes should encourage people who want to have private farms to participate in the agricultural business.''

Before congratulating the farmers, to the table of Rustam Minnikhanov and Mintimer Shaimiev, sitting surrounded by farmers, they brought a korovai. Having took a piece of bread, the president took the stage. He assured the villagers that the village is and will be the support of Tatarstan, and said that he was pleased with the results of the harvest 2018. ''In spite of the weather and climate difficulties, the republic will harvest more than 3, 800,000 tonnes of grain, more than 2 million tonnes of sugar beet, produce about 1, 800,000 tonnes of milk, more than 500,000 tonnes of meat. All these results are the work of the representatives of the districts who are here in this hall,'' said the head of Tatarstan. ''These livestock breeders, plant growers, machine operators — the best specialists in the industry.''

TAIF and Tatneft saved the village from bitter tears

Special words of gratitude were addressed to TAIF Group and Tatneft, which provide the villagers with fuel. ''Fuel for the village — an important point,'' he said to the roar of applause. Indeed, this May, diesel fuel rose by almost 40 per cent, which could disrupt the agricultural works. ''Every year we receive fuel at a reduced price — from 2 to 6 rubles a litre,'' Rishat Khabipov told Realnoe Vremya. ''This year we saved on fuel purchases from 2 to 3 billion rubles.''

Let us remind that this August Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an order, according to which the Reserve Fund of the Russian government allocated 5 billion rubles for subsidies to regions willing to co-finance the compensation of farmers' expenses for the purchase of diesel fuel. Subsidies were distributed among 79 federal subjects, which have acreage of grain, leguminous and fodder crops. Tatarstan received 400 million rubles under this order, Rishat Khabibov said.

The president reminded that 38 republican programmes are implemented today in the region, which are aimed at improving the quality of life, including in rural areas

About the feat of private investors: ''They had to find money first, and then return''

Rustam Minnikhanov continued to be lavish with praise. He said that there are 450,000 personal farmsteads, 4,600 farms and more than 1,200 family farms in the region. ''This is also the resource and wealth that allow the village to flourish and develop,'' he said. The head of the republic did not forget about the heroes-investors who invest in the high-risk industry. According to him, investments in agriculture have amounted to 18 billion rubles this year. ''First, it is necessary to find money, then to return,'' he explained the essence of the feat. Now the agro-industrial complex is implementing investment projects for the construction of an elevator complex with a capacity of 150,000 tonnes of one-time grain storage in Zainsk with commissioning this year, the construction of dairy complexes in 12 districts with the launch in 2019-2021. The volume of agricultural production is estimated at 263,3 billion rubles, an increase in comparable prices is 1,9 per cent.

At the same time, state investments are also going to the village. The president reminded that 38 republican programmes are implemented today in the region, which are aimed at improving the quality of life, including in rural areas. ''The main programmes are aimed at supporting the infrastructure of agriculture and agricultural production. They will be continued in the future. We understand that rural work is not easy, and we understand that without the support of the state, including the federal government, it is impossible to reach such heights and implement these projects. But the most important thing in this process is people,'' Minnikhanov concluded. After that, he presented state awards to the most distinguished employees of the industry. Among them, a mother of eight children, milkmaid at the farm of Shakirzyanov R. M., Arsky district, Zoya Ulyksanova was best remembered. ''I get up at 2:45 a.m. and go to work. I come from work at 6:30 p.m.,'' she told journalists. She did not name her salary, saying that it ''depends on milk production''.

In conclusion of the presidential reception, Marat Akhmetov admitted: ''We would like to make this year as successful as the year 2017, but the weather was stronger than our possibilities.'' However, according to him, about 4 million tonnes of grain is a sufficient harvest for Tatarstan. ''We are the first federal subject in milk production, we are in the top five by meat, we are in the top ten by sugar beet,'' the minister listed the successes of the industry. Separately, he thanked the livestock breeders of the republic, who annually produce 1,8 million tonnes of milk. ''They work without sabantuys, without holidays and weekends, 365 days a year. They are especially dedicated people,'' he was delighted. ''Sincere congratulations to you on the holiday of rural lifestyle!''

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By Luiza Ignatyeva. Photo: Maksim Platonov
Tatarstan