‘Farming should become not only enthusiasm but a business with a stable income’

State support for farmers and rural cooperatives were discussed in Kazan

How to make farming a profitable business? Answers to this question were looked for on one of the sites of the Agro-Industrial Forum, which was recently hosted at Kazan Expo. Effectiveness of state support for small farms citing the best practices became the main topic of a round-table talk that gathered representatives of the Agro-Industrial Complex and functionaries. Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent attended the meeting too.

To reach 2 million tonnes of milk a year

Tatarstan is an agro-industrial region, a leader in agricultural production in Russia. Today the republic has around 4,000 farmers who own 370,000 ha of land. The average plot is up to 100 ha.

According to the Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture, Saba District leads the rating of municipalities in small farms’ indicators. Kukmor and Baltasi Districts were 2nd and 3rd.

The republic has an ambitious task — to produce 2 million tonnes of milk a year. At the moment, dairy and beef cattle receive the biggest state support. In the tough conditions that arose last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, farmers showed the greatest production growth even compared to large agricultural holdings, the Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture says.

Gross agricultural output of Tatarstan (in all categories) is 263,4 billion rubles. The growth index is 104%. Vice Minister of Agriculture and Food of the republic Rishat Khabipov said about this in his speech.

'Tatarstan is one of those regions one isn’t afraid to send money to'

The vice minister noted that the accomplishments in developing small farms are linked with the amount of state support. Thanks to republican and federal support, it is expected the number of heads will grow and 500 new jobs will be created.

25 areas of support for small farming at 3,2 billion rubles are in process. Grants that amounted to 1,4 billion rubles in 2020 are the majority. 155 farms and 15 rural cooperatives received grants, 197 small farms were built over this period.

All the money recipients of grants receive go through the federal Treasury. The expenditure is strictly controlled. Rishat Khabipov mentioned the construction of small farms for 20-25 heads in Kukmor District. 30 million rubles were allocated for these projects.

Vice Director of the Department of Countryside Development of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture Renata Bibarsova shared her observation:

'All Russian regions are different, each of them has its own specifics, each one has its problems and successes, but the Republic of Tatarstan is one of those regions one isn’t afraid to send money to because we see feedback from recipients and agencies of regional authorities for every ruble of the invested money. Farming should become not only enthusiasm but a business providing a stable income.'

Nowadays there are strict requirements for the amounts of regional support for agricultural cooperation. This stimulates the development of agricultural cooperatives and regions’ work with this mechanism.

Renata Bibarsova explained that financial measures of state support work so that they help a farmer at every stage of his business’s life cycle.

In her opinion, project financing is the future of the farmer community. It will be possible to implement projects for not 5-6 million but up to 120 million rubles with the help of state support and preferential loans.

Commerce, house and tourism in farmers’ lands

Last year, the Department of Countryside Development of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture did an analysis and found out that a farmer submits 128 report forms a year. As it turned out, indicators in these forms are repeated in names. There was organised work to simplify reporting, only those indicators that have to be filled in were chosen, all periodicals were synchronised, and there was created a single list of numbers. Now the indicators aren’t 4,000 but 860. From July 2021, every farmer is planned to be given a personal account on State Services portal. Here a farmer will fill in the single list of indicators three times a year. The system is to automatically send all indicators to report forms. Now it is being tested.

It is planned to introduce a special note in a sole trader’s registration form that will indicate that an entrepreneur is a head or a member of a farm.

Renata Bibarsova reminded the audience of legislative initiatives to permit farmers to set up mobile sales points or build houses on agricultural lands. She also paid attention to the problem of a fall in electrical energy for a microbusiness in agriculture: 'We offered a mechanism of providing a preferential amount of electrical energy for a small agricultural enterprise. The Ministry of Energy is considering this initiative.'

The speaker mentioned a bill that fixes the concept of 'rural tourism' and 'agrotourism' as well as recognises farmers’ houses as accommodation in the countryside. Grants for this area will appear from 2022, while farmers’ households will be included in tourist routes.

By Tatiana Novikova

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