Mintimer Shaimiev: ''We do not need Mercedes to work in the fields, we need powerful machinery''

The Minsk tractor plant is considering Alabuga; Tatarstan is preparing to open a wholesale grocery warehouse in China

Despite grain price crash, Tatarstan agrarians celebrated the professional holiday with ''big bread'' and optimism — for the third time they have beaten the record of 5 million tonnes of grain since the beginning of the crisis in 2008. ''It's always uncomfortable before the republic when you receive a huge sum but the results are inadequate,'' Agriculture Minister Marat Akhmetov was slightly moved. ''But this year has been successful,'' he was proud of it. What Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov was glad at, why the first President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev was sad at the meeting with Tatarstan grain growers — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Agrarians' dreams

Mellow autumn 2017 presented to Tatarstan agrarians unpleasant surprises: the market grain prices stabilized at a low level and RZD tariffs for transportation soared, leaving the Tatarstan grain growers a sense of uncertainty about the future. Participants arriving at the presidential reception on the occasion of Day of Worker of Agriculture and Processing Industry in the spacious Tennis Academy secretly said that the harvest was great, but they had nowhere to sell it and the current procurement prices for grain were unlikely to help them to pay off the loans. Deputy Director General of the agrarian and industrial complex AK Bars Holding complained that the grain harvest grown in 15 areas will go for food for poultry farms but the holding will still remain in the red. Along the way, he said that he was not going to purchase the Laishevsky poultry farm.

The market grain prices stabilized at a low level and RZD tariffs for transportation soared, leaving the Tatarstan grain growers a sense of uncertainty about the future. Photo: prav.tatarstan.ru

But in fact, an acute crisis of grain sales in unlikely to happen. As Nikolay Titov stated, now the government of the country is considering different options for transporting grain at preferential rates. In short, the road for grain supplies is open.

The work of agrarians is priceless, and thanks for fuel to TAIF and Tatneft

President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov was optimistic. He was glad that agriculture is able to annually increase agricultural production, bringing the republic into the first place in Russia in terms of milk volume and the leading position in meat of livestock and poultry. ''We plan to increase the volumes by 2,2% up to 1,8 million tonnes, and 500,000 tonnes of meat of cattle and poultry will be produced in the republic,'' he said. Almost half of this food is grown by the army of private farms – it is 450,000 private subsidiary farmings, 4,700 farms and 1,200 family farms. In Tatarstan, the leader by the number of harvested grain was the Buinsky district. The amount of threshed grain here was more than 200,000 tonnes and the average yield of the district was 37 centners per hectare. The Kukmorsky district has become the leader by the volume of milk.

According to Rustam Minnikhanov, the share of agriculture together with the food industry accounts for 11% of GDP. The industry's investment projects are continuing at 25 billion rubles.

''The work of the agrarians is priceless,'' said the President. 'Our agrarians celebrated this day with the results that deserve universal respect. Despite the adverse weather conditions of recent years, we have maintained our capacity and this year we have reaped a decent harvest — over 5 million tonnes of grain,'' the head of the republic praised the grain growers. ''We expect a record harvest of sugar beet at 3 million.''

According to Rustam Minnikhanov, the share of agriculture together with the food industry accounts for 11% of GDP. Photo: prav.tatarstan.ru

But most of all, the head of the republic was pleased with the fact that the agricultural producers are supported by TAIF and Tatneft by providing them with cheap fuel. He wished this tradition continued. In total, this year 24 billion rubles were allocated from the budget for sowing and harvesting campaigns.

5 million tonnes of grain

''It's always uncomfortable before the republic when you receive a huge sum and support, but the results are inadequate,'' frankly admitted Marat Akhmetov. ''In the republic, agriculture has always been a priority, even when the price of oil was $8. For such attitude to the industry, we have always wanted to prove good results, true victories, and this year has turned out to be successful,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Mintimer Shaimiev with great pain in his heart made a speech in defense of the grain growers who ''have proved that they can work'' but ''don't have powerful and reliable machines''. ''For work in the fields we do not need Mercedes, but we need powerful machinery,'' he said. ''I am saying it with pain because you take loans, you find yourself dependent on spare parts. If the country produced them itself, and the country had all opportunities for this, how it would be much easier for you, it would increase your work efficiency and cost,'' he reasoned. According to him, the republic has production facilities and there are opportunities for production. As Realnoe Vremya found out from the heads of municipalities, it concerns the creation in Yelabuga of a mega-project on construction of a plant for production of Belarusian tractors. According to insider information, for this purpose, the Minsk tractor plant withdrew from the capital ELAZ—MTZ.

''It is still premature to tell about this, the documents have not been signed yet,'' said the head of Yelabuga district, Emelyanov.

This year, the agricultural producers bought American tractors Beeler and domestic К744 of Kirov tractor factory tractor by the special program launched by Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture on the condition of 50% subsidy. They replaced the Dutch tractors New Holland, the production of which are located in Naberezhnye Chelny.

This year, the agricultural producers bought American tractors Beeler and domestic К744 of Kirov tractor factory tractor by the special program launched by Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture. Photo: sarpanorama.ru

Focus on Shenzhen

Having reaped high yield, Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture is in a hurry to penetrate export routes to China, having deep food markets. Other regions of the Russian Federation also want to enter it, for which now the transit train from Voronezh region is opened. However, Tatarstan is going to enter China not with grain but with finished food products. As Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Nikolay Titov said to Realnoe Vremya, on 26 October in Shenzhen it will be opened up a huge wholesale warehouse Foodcity.

''Recently we with the government of the republic have held talks and agreed to create the Tatar house Foodcity,'' he said. ''For now we are forming a team and range of products, shelf life of which is up to six months.''

By Luiza Ignatyeva
Industry Agriculture