On November 29, 2021, Agroinvestor, Russia’s only magazine for agribusiness investors and agricultural executives, published an article about the current achievements of ECO-Culture company. The authors interviewed Alexander Rudakov, the President of the holding, to hear about their immediate plans and future investment prospects for the Russian agricultural sector.
At the moment, ECO-Culture is completing the construction of a modern greenhouse facility in Moscow Oblast. Apart from that, the company’s existing complexes in Tula, Voronezh, and Leningrad oblasts are approaching the launch of new construction phases as well. The President of the agricultural holding says that right now, the company is in full swing to increase its production capacities. ECO-Culture operates eight investment projects now under implementation in different regions of the Russian Federation. Some of the facilities are expected to be commissioned in December 2021 and January 2022, while others will be put into operation in the first half of the year to come.
The new Podmoskovye greenhouse complex will cover an area of 35 hectares. It will be a place to grow the most popular greenhouse crops, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. The enterprise’s estimated capacity will be at least 24,000 tons of vegetables per year. Like all other facilities of the holding, this one will only employ environmentally friendly methods of cultivation without growth stimulation or plant protection chemicals.
By summer 2022, the holding is to complete its winter greenhouse complexes featuring glass roofing and assimilation supplementary lighting. Further plans include the construction of film-covered greenhouses in Stavropol Krai and Kabardino-Balkaria. These regions’ climatic conditions facilitate the beneficial use of solar energy, hence reducing energy consumption which accounts for a considerable share of the greenhouse production costs.
Alexander Rudakov also voiced the holding’s strategic goal of increasing its greenhouse capacity in all Russian regions to 1.1 thousand hectares. In fact, the area allocated for cucumbers and lettuce is scheduled for expansion by 2022.
In the meantime, the economic consequences of the pandemic – growing prices for construction materials, raw materials, and seeds, some of which still have to be bought abroad – are forcing the company to increase its investment budget. Still, Rudakov believes that the year 2021 can be considered quite successful for the holding. All in all, its production plans have been fulfilled, along with the ambitious investment program. The President of ECO-Culture confirms that the current investment climate in the Russian agricultural sector is rather favorable, something for the market leaders to take advantage of.
Targeted state support given to agricultural enterprises yields results as well. With vegetable production is steadily increasing, the problem of import substitution is being successfully solved. Thus, the share of domestic agricultural products in the consumer basket gets higher and higher. So far, however, the supply of foreign tomatoes to the Russian market is still rather large and amounts up to 450 thousand tons a year. For the industry to completely overcome the need for imported products, production is yet to be further expanded. Due to the climatic specifics of most regions of Russia, the only way to solve this problem is to build new greenhouse complexes. The industry, luckily, has room to grow, with ECO-Culture providing a vivid example of what this approach can do. At the same time, state support remains extremely important for domestic producers.
To read the article, please visit the Agroinvestor’s website.