An article dedicated to the work of greenhouses in the South and North Caucasus in the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic was published on the website of the Interfax Russia news agency. The majority of the largest enterprises are not intending to slow down production rates and reduce the number of employees. On the contrary, some companies are even planning to increase the workforce due to the higher volumes of output and the expanded areas available this year. Those enterprises include ECO-culture agricultural holding which is the largest domestic supplier of greenhouse vegetables.
According to the article, the current economic situation and epidemiological conditions in the country have affected the work of enterprises, even though there were optimistic plans in this regard. Nevertheless, each company has its own strategy of overcoming the crisis.
The representatives of greenhouses gave their comments on the functioning of the facilities. Larisa Erina, the Director of Sales, answered the questions of the article’s authors on the part of ECO-culture holding.
The problem of supplies was the first topic for the representatives of greenhouse enterprises to express their opinion. According to Larisa Yerina, despite the pandemic, the agricultural holding is experiencing no logistical difficulties. Vegetables are being delivered on time even to the Far East. Moreover, ECO-Culture is planning to widen the geography of its supplies in Russia and CIS countries in the nearest future.
The next issue was related to the companies’ investment plans under the current circumstances. There are no projects the agricultural holding is planning to freeze or even revise. For example, this year the construction of the Kavkaz greenhouse complex will be started in Stavropol Krai. Right now, there are engineering researches to be carried out and project documentation to be developed.
When it comes to pricing, manufacturers have disagreements with retail chains. The ECO-Culture management believes that the selling prices set in the stores do not correlate with the country’s economic situation at all. The markup for major vegetable crops amounts to 100 percent, which is a few times higher than the price recommended by suppliers. Based on the this situation, it is necessary to draw up a regulatory act that will ensure a fixed price for products on the supermarket shelves. This measure will increase the affordability of fresh vegetables for the population. During the pandemic, effective demand has indeed declined and not everyone can buy vegetables at the price suggested.
Still, as reported by Larisa Erina, there is no chance for retail chains to avoid seasonal price reductions for round and plum tomatoes. The reason is that these crops are ripening in open ground. Therefore, from July to mid-September, the price reduction is considered to be justified. During this period, greenhouse complexes of the holding have minimal yield volumes. At the same time, exclusive cherry hybrids and cocktail tomatoes are the ones that are least exposed to seasonal fluctuations since their volumes grown in open ground are insignificant.
For the full text of the article please visit Interfax website.