Alexey Shemetov on new trends in the greenhouse sector during the pandemic era

The AGRO.RU portal dedicated to the agricultural industry in Russia has published an article written by Alexey Shemetov, the Vice-President for production at ECO-Culture holding. In the publication, he tells the readers about new trends in the greenhouse sector, the difficulties the market had to face in the past year, as well as the development prospects for the near future.

According to Alexey Shemetov, 2020 was a real challenge for all business areas. It is a common belief that the greenhouse segment turned out to be the least affected, with producers working in a normal mode and not cutting production volumes even at the peak of the pandemic. However, the enterprises operating indoors had their own challenges since they needed to change the format in order to protect their employees’ health. This required the heads of greenhouse complexes to be flexible in planning production processes and quick in decision-making. Only a competent analysis of the situation and a professional approach allowed the management of ECO-Culture holding to avoid financial and personnel losses during the difficult epidemiological situation.

The Vice President for Production also named the leading new-era trends: production flexibility, market participant consolidation, and expansion of regional presence. In 2020, all major holdings across Russia have implemented these trends to a greater or lesser extent. In the future, however, they are expected to be integrated into work processes even more deeply.

Further in the article, Alexey Shemetov spoke in detail about the new formats of operation. The strategy of flexible production manifested itself in the development of new directions of crop cultivation. The holding’s executives have decided this was the right time to expand the product range. In 2021, the company will start work on the launch of a new greenhouse complex in Dagestan, which will specialize in berries. The area of 100 hectares will be used for the cultivation of such crops like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. The management of the holding strongly believes the new direction to be promising on the Russian market. Meanwhile, the existing complexes allow to implement the principle of crop rotation – for example, to switch periodically from premium cherry varieties to traditional round tomatoes and back. These also can be used for growing eggplants, peppers, or cucumbers depending on the market demand.

In 2021, the tendency to consolidate existing market players through mergers and acquisitions, as well as the launch of new production facilities, will continue. In this regard, large-scale projects having branches in different regions of Russia are expected to take precedence. Banks are more willing to work with major players who are able to fulfill their credit obligations, while consumers have more confidence in trusted and well-known brands with stable high quality of production. Private farmers and small facilities may be consolidated around the market leaders – especially since the latter, including ECO-Culture holding, are ready to assist entrepreneurs in selling their products.

As for the expansion of the regions of presence, Alexei Shemetov believes that there are certain shifts in this matter as well. Greenhouse facilities are not as dependent on climatic conditions as outdoor producers. Therefore, in the near future, we can expect new major projects to be launched in the Far East or in other regions with a relatively unfavorable agriculture-wise climate.

The full text of the article is available on AGRO.RU website.