Greenhouse business’s topical problems

Zemlya i Zhizn (“Earth and Life”) newspaper published an article analyzing the situation in indoor vegetable production. Among other things, the authors interviewed representatives of the largest Russian enterprises in this field, mainly to find out the impact of sanctions and general changes in the economic sphere on them. One of the invited experts was Maria Bocharova, the first Vice-President of ECO-Culture holding.

In 2021, the total harvest of greenhouse vegetables in Russia almost reached 1.5 million tons, which is three times more than in 2015. And while the upward production trend is evident, the pace of development may be severely affected by the unprecedented sanctions imposed in 2022.

Consumers, in turn, are concerned about the pressing question of the ability of domestic producers to fully meet domestic demand in the face of declining imports. Representatives of Teplitsy Rossii (Russian Greenhouses Association) are optimistic: the indoor production facilities in the country are quite capable of meeting the needs of the market. Moreover, we can still get supplies from our friendly countries.

According to Maria Bocharova, the first Vice-President of ECO-Culture holding, the new economic conditions will not reduce the production volume of tomatoes and cucumbers. Still, the range of grown products may be adjusted taking into account the decrease in consumer demand caused by the fall in the population’s incomes. Basically, the primary need of people now is simple products for everyday use. It just so happens that the common varieties – round and plum-shaped red tomatoes – account for the bulk of the ECO-Culture’s product line. There are many families who buy them at least twice a week. With the demand for this category of grown products remaining stable, there are no prerequisites for its future decline. As for the exclusive cherry hybrids that could rather be classed as the premium segment, they also remain in demand, especially in big cities.

Nevertheless, there are a number of serious problems that the industry has faced, admits Maria Bocharova. First of all, it is a significant rise in the price of seeds and plant protection means, as well as consumables and hardware used in greenhouse production. Another thing is the complication of logistics, which leads to a considerable increase in transportation costs. None of the above-mentioned factors are conducive to higher profitability. This brings us to the number one task for the business – to maintain the stability of all production processes with the currently available resources.

The first Vice-President of ECO-Culture believes that Russian agribusiness as a whole and the greenhouse industry in particular can only count on the continuation of state support programs. It includes preferential lending, especially for working capital, as well as the implementation of targeted comprehensive measures at the federal level. All that combined can ensure an uninterrupted supply of vegetables to buyers and further acceleration of import substitution.

For the full text of the article, please check the issue 9-10 of Zemlya i Zhizn, 2022.