Tatarstan minister of agriculture: ‘The sowing is taking place in favourable weather conditions’

The Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture named the reason why some foods became more expensive and counted that the spring planting would cost 25 billion rubles

Tatarstan minister of agriculture: ‘The sowing is taking place in favourable weather conditions’

The sowing season is coming to an end in Tatarstan. This year 2,8 million hectares of arable land will have to be sowed. A planting plan for grains and other crops is already 95% completed in the republic’s southern districts, it was said at a briefing in the House of Government. The harvest that will be gathered in August, as head of the Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture Marat Zyabbarov thinks, shouldn’t be worse than in 2020. But this year’s sowing season has been tough for some municipalities, first of all, Mamadysh District — it had to plant the territory again for winter crops, as half of the seeds didn’t sprout.

25 billion rubles for spring planting

The harvest in Tatarstan this year doesn’t promise to be worse than last year’s, head of the Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture Marat Zyabbarov is convinced. Agriculturists will have to plant about 3 million ha. Spring crops, oil crops, sugar beet have already been planted in 68% of this area. About 40% of spring crops are original elite seeds. By the minister’s estimates, “the sowing this year is taking place in favourable weather conditions, the organisation and quality of works are at a good level, crops and beans are sprouting together, seed supply is 114%”.

Southern districts are leaders of the planting — Nurlat, where the work is 95% completed, Tetyushi, Zainsk and Askubayevo where over 85% of lands have been planted. Zyabbarov thinks that the sowing season will end for them soon: “The planting quality isn’t bad, there is enough humidity”. The minister assesses that costs on the spring planting will total about 25 billion rubles, while they plan to finish the planting in favourable weather conditions in a few weeks.

Mineral fertilisers are the foundation of a good harvest, the minister reminded the audience. According to him, over 72kg per hectare have been accumulated nowadays — 12kg more than last year. Zainsk and Tetuyshi Districts are among those areas that stand out in a crowd. Local agriculturists have managed to accumulate 115kg per ha. But some districts fall behind too (Agryz and Zelenodolsk Districts).

As for winter crops, about 10% of the seeds didn’t survive the winter on 552,000 hectares that were planted in autumn. Winter crops in Mamadysh District were affected the most — a half of them died, 36% did in Drozhzhany, 24% — Kaybitsy and Apastovo.

The harvest in Tatarstan this year doesn’t promise to be worse than last year’s. Photo: Ilya Repin

“The affected areas are already replanted,” noted the head of the agriculture ministry, “with quality spring and barley seeds, we hope to have a good harvest.”

The minister says 50% of winter crops died in Mamadysh District because they had been planted late, due to the quality of seeds themselves and insufficient humidity of the soil — the seeds simply didn’t sprout. Simultaneously with the sowing, the soil is treated for weeds and pests, it is harrowed and taken other protective measures.

Orchards given the green light

Specialised agricultural households are busy with vegetable planting these days: this year, 4,000 ha of potato and 2,400 ha of other vegetables will be planted in Tatarstan, Marat Zyabbarov thinks this will be enough to provide chain stores and seasonal fairs of the republic with supplies. Kyrlay farm in Arsk District has the biggest area for potatoes — the farm annually plants a thousand ha of potato and 200 ha of other vegetables. Agriculturists in Yelabuga District professionally plant vegetables: this year, the potato area has been 265 ha, and 300 ha are designed for other vegetables.

Since 2017, Tatarstan has been cultivating so-called intensive gardens — nearly 420 hectares of land have been allocated for them. And the first harvest of fruits and berries was gathered last year. This year, another 50 ha will be planted with berry bushes. The Ministry of Agriculture forecast that more than a thousand tonnes of fruits and berries are going to be gathered in intensive gardens. Not large agricultural enterprises but mainly nine private farms in Mamadysh, Buinsk, Almetyevsk and Arsk Districts run this activity.

Agriculturists of the republic have received 3,5 billion rubles of subsidies for the spring planting. In general, the amount of public support for the republic’s agricultural producers has reached 12,6 billion rubles, a big part of which (8,8bn rubles) are the money of the republican coffers, the speaker specified. The money will mostly be spent to develop the production of grains, beans and oil crops, purchase fertilisers, raise milk yield, provide farmers with agricultural machinery and for other purposes.

Specialised agricultural households are busy with vegetable planting these days. Photo: Ilya Repin

Higher metal price creates a shortage of agricultural machinery

Talking about transport, Minister of Agriculture Marat Zyabbarov noted that more than 11,000 tractors, 5,8 seed drills, 6,000 cultivators and other auxiliary equipment are used in the current planting. The minister said that such an amount of machinery allows daily cultivating and sowing about 100,000 hectares of land. This year countrymen don’t have problems with diesel fuel supplies because Tatneft provided 70,000 tonnes of the fuel at a preferential price, 6 rubles cheaper on average than in a petrol station, Zyabbarov said.

Also, new pieces of agricultural machinery have been purchased — 1,500 for over 6 billion rubles. Last year, agriculturists managed to buy 2,540 pieces of machinery for more than 7 billion rubles. However, this year, farmers have faced a shortage of agricultural machinery for the first time in the last years: a price rise for metals and, as a consequence, for machinery itself played a role in decreasing its production.

Despite the subsidies — 650 million rubles — received by republican producers of oil and sugar from the federal budget, it wasn’t anyway possible to drive the prices for these foods down in Tatarstan — the price for vegetable oil and sugar rose by 20-40%. Bread and flour became more expensive, even though public support was also provided for these sectors to keep the prices.

Talking about the reasons why some foods went up in price, for instance, eggs, Zyabbarov claimed that it was an annual season occurrence: “The price for eggs has already started to fall. If we have a look at the prices, there is already a real fall, they will keep falling.”

By Angelina Panchenko