Kamiyar Baytemirov: 'Support for farmers has been cut by 48% — what's next?'
Cows in closed hangars, harvest in question, and cut federal subsidies are the main points on the agenda of AgroVolga 2021 forum
Against the background of drought outbreak, the federal authorities are curtailing support for farmers who have the highest risks of getting a low harvest, head of the Association of Farmers and Peasant Farms of Tatarstan Kamiyar Baytemirov was indignant at AgroVolga 2021 forum that opened in Kazan Expo. Hard times have come for milk processors, who are forced to accept milk with the worst quality, and for agronomists who buy seeds and protective equipment abroad. However, Innopraktika, a company from Moscow, announced that Russian biotechnologies are going to replace imports soon. “Either we will win, or we will have problems with food supply for 30-50 years ahead," says Vladimir Avdeenko, the director of the Innagro programme.
AgroVolga in Kazan-Expo replaces Field Days in Laishevo
AgroVolga is an annual agricultural exhibition of Tatarstan, which has undergone a slight rebranding this year, abandoning the simple name Field Days. Indeed, what kind of fields can there be in the urbanised territory of Kazan Expo, where everything is completely concreted around.
Nevertheless, the organisers bothered to bring live exhibits — for example, in one of the large hangars they kept cows, taken, as they say, from Ak Bars agricultural complex. Other village animals — horses, bulls, ducks, chickens, which used to be presented at Field Days in Laishevo — were not noticed. Perhaps, they were in other hangars.
Opening the exhibition, Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Tatarstan Marat Zyabbarov noted that the forum was being held “in the new format and on the new platform”. Three hundred and four companies from 30 regions of Russia participated.
“On an area of 40 hectares, a block of animal husbandry is represented — 38 farms and 14 districts. Ninety-three animals are participating in the breeding cattle competition, 28 companies are represented in experimental fields, 57 dealers presented about 340 units of equipment. We hope that the event will be useful and effective for everyone — there are a lot of new and interesting things: machinery, equipment, varieties of our various crops," Marat Zyabbarov said in his welcoming speech.
Crop prospects 2021: there may be a critical minimum
The minister announced that due to the drought a state of emergency has been introduced in the territory of Tatarstan.
“Yesterday we announced an emergency state in 38 districts of the republic, there is nothing good in this, difficulties are going to arise this year. At a meeting on emergency situations, which we held together with the president of the republic, we outlined plans for the purchase of feed, we visited neighbouring regions with these issues. This situation is under control, and we hope to adequately prepare for the end of the summer period so that we have feed," Marat Zyabbarov said.
Later during the plenary conference, he said that Tatarstan is the 4th in Russia in the production of agricultural products but did not promise that the republic would maintain its leading position this year. He reminded that in 2020 Tatarstan produced food worth 263,4 billion rubles and the revenue of agricultural enterprises amounted to 132 billion rubles with an increase of 14%. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Tatarstan refuses to predict the harvest of 2021. What part of the crops has been burned is not discussed.
The head of the Tatarstan Agrarian University believes that if there are rains in July, then a repeat of the crisis of 2010 may be avoided. “It is said that 20 quintals per hectare will be collected… This is a critical minimum that can be collected," he said in a conversation with Realnoe Vremya.
Farmers' subsidies were “cut”
The head of the Association of Farmers and Peasant Farms of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kamiyar Baytemirov, speaking at the forum, expressed concerns about the reduction of support for farmers in Tatarstan. According to him, there is a widespread reduction in funding for federal programmes in which Tatarstan participated. For example, subsidies under the SPoK (agricultural consumer cooperatives) programme have been cut by 44% — from 300 million to 167 million rubles, for the development of family livestock farms — from 350 to 250 million rubles, and the Novice Farmer programme is being on the verge of closing — from 539 million to 161 million rubles. According to him, in general, state support for farmers has decreased by 48%, which is due to the transfer of functions to the level of regions.
“It seemed strange to us that the issue of subsidising small businesses has been transferred to the jurisdiction of the regions. It turns out that the farms completely depend on what the local authorities decide, how they imagine the needs and requests of agricultural producers," Kamiyar Baytemirov was perplexed.
No matter how much Tatarstan's support volumes are “cut”, we are doing better compared to other regions, he noted. “We spoke with the representatives of Orenburg Oblast — we have 300 million rubles for the support of agricultural consumer cooperatives alone, and they have 360 million rubles for all farming types," he said.
Another problem of the villagers is uncultivated agricultural land. “At one time, agricultural holdings mortgaged land, now all this is under the jurisdiction of banks, farmers can not get these lands. Moreover, there is enough unclaimed land to meet the needs of peasant farmsteads," he said. According to him, they call every day about obtaining or not obtaining land, but the problem is still not solved.
In conclusion, he raised the problem of personnel shortage in rural areas. “There are not enough machine operators, veterinarians, animal technicians — this is the problem of all farms, this is a nationwide problem," Kamiyar Baytemirov stressed.
The chairman of the Milkagro SPoK, Ilya Chebenev, touched upon the problem of improving the quality of raw milk. The representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture admitted that the cost of producing raw milk has increased due to the rise in feed price, but so far prices remain at a stable level.
“So we will soon lose our market”
During the scientific and practical conference “Global Challenges for Food Security: Risks and Opportunities”, they discussed when farmers will switch to domestic plant protection products. Vladimir Avdeenko, the head of the Innoagro project of the Moscow company Innopraktika, admitted that animal husbandry uses almost 90% of foreign vitamins, amino acids, and other drugs to preserve the health of livestock. But there are alarming signals in the domestic crop production, where the share of foreign preparators has increased from 6% to 18%. “This way, we are going to lose our market soon," he noted,
According to him, there is a trend for the biologisation of agriculture all over the world. The demand for fertilizers has grown by 44%, and according to his estimates, it will double in 5 years, from 4 to 7 billion rubles.
“The biologisation of agriculture is becoming not only an exotic niche, but the mainstream. Either it will win, or we will have a problem with providing the population with food in the next 30-50 years," the speaker stressed.
In conclusion, he invited Tatarstan to join the programme of testing new drugs, in which 21 regions participate.
Then Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Tatarstan Marat Zyabbarov and Director General of the distribution network of mineral fertilizers FosAgro-Region (FosAgro Group) Andrey Vovk signed a cooperation agreement that provides for the expansion of the warehouse infrastructure for the storage and shipment of mineral fertilisers in Tatarstan. It is planned to launch the second own centre for the distribution of mineral fertilisers FosAgro-Region. It is planned to be located in the south-west of the republic and will allow farmers to optimise the costs of farms for field work due to the early purchase of mineral fertilisers with subsequent storage near farmland.
The total capacity of the two FosAgro-Region storage complexes will exceed 30,000 tonnes of granular and liquid mineral fertilisers. Investments are planned in the amount of 130 million rubles for 2021-2024. We should add that Tatarstan remains the only region that subsidises farmers to purchase fertilisers from Ammonia JSC.