The August issue of the Agrotekhnika i Tekhnologii (“Agrotechnics and Technologies”) magazine features a significant interview with Alexander Rudakov. The President of ECO-Culture, the largest agricultural holding in the country, shared his thoughts on how to succeed in the fight against competitors and how to grow ecological tomatoes with excellent organoleptic properties.
The preview informs that for 10 years of its work, the company has shown progressive economic growth and does not seem to stop there. Despite the difficult situation in the economy, in 2020 the company continues its intensive development, investing in new projects and expanding production.
The first question of the magazine touched upon the plans for the future – the regions and directions of high priority for the agricultural holding. According to Alexander Rudakov, the key region of development was and remains the Caucasus, with the most ambitious plans of the holding related to the Stavropol Krai. One of the main reasons for this choice is the high level of solar activity in the area, which significantly reduces the cost of crop cultivation. However, up to 2023, the company will continue its systematic capacity building in all regions of its presence. New greenhouse complexes are soon to be launched in Moscow and Voronezh Oblasts, as well as in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
As for the more distant future, the company’s President believes that competition in the vegetable market will continue to increase, which will inevitably lead to consolidation. Thus, only the biggest players will remain in the market. To maintain its leadership, ECO-Culture will need to develop new directions – in particular, the export and construction of greenhouse complexes in other countries.
One of the main topics covered was the construction of the Breeding Center – a fundamentally new direction of the company’s work. According to Alexander Rudakov, today a significant percentage of seed material is imported to Russia from Europe and paid in foreign currency. For this reason, the production capacity of the holding strongly depends on the ruble exchange rate and the willingness of importers to supply the necessary amount of seeds to Russia. In a situation like this, the company’s own seed production is the only possible vector for the industry to develop. In the nearest future, ECO-Culture is going to start producing domestic hybrids of the same quality as foreign ones. The cost of own seed production is estimated at 25 kopecks for one seed, while the Dutch analog costs the company 100 rubles. At the same time, domestic hybrids are more disease-resistant and have higher rates on the Brix scale.
Other focuses of this extensive and detailed conversation were the company’s entry into the markets of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and the Persian Gulf countries, water and electricity consumption in greenhouse complexes and resource-saving methods, the company’s human resources policy, state support for the agricultural industry in Russia, the environmental safety of the holding’s products, along with other interesting topics. The full text of the article is available on the magazine’s website.