New interview with Alexander Rudakov aired on RBC channel

The channel’s host Kirill Tokarev proceeds with a series of anti-crisis exclusive interviews in a distant format with major Russian businessmen. The new guest of the program was Alexander Rudakov, the President of ECO-Culture agricultural holding.

The first question of the host touched upon the impact of the current situation with the pandemic, ruble collapse, and self-isolation on the economic status of the holding and the greenhouse industry as a whole. The head of the largest greenhouse enterprise in the country acknowledged the influence of the listed factors on the agricultural sector, but he also pointed out that for ECO-culture, the effect was not as painful as for other economic entities.

Tomatoes (the main crop produced by the holding) are still in demand – the Russian market is not yet sufficiently enriched with this crop, so there is unlikely to be any decline in its price in the near future. Besides, the share of imported products in the current economic and epidemiological conditions has significantly decreased and will continue to fall.

This opens up further opportunities for ECO-culture in terms of selling its products. According to Rudakov, the agricultural holding is currently in a fairly comfortable situation. At the same time, the President noted that a few weeks ago, when the demand for basic necessities increased, tomato sales fell sharply – for some time people simply were not interested in fresh vegetables at all. However, later on, the sales returned to the same level. Although some of the products – mainly non-standard and exclusive ones – have become more difficult to sell. Nevertheless, according to the President of the holding, it causes no particular trouble – everything that is not sold doesn’t become wasted either: it is the holding’s practice to distribute unsold products to those who need them the most, for example, lonely pensioners.

When asked about the readiness of the company and the industry as a whole to the decline in demand for fresh vegetables in the near future, Alexander Rudakov explained that weak players who do not have access to the civilized and systemic retailing will definitely have problems. Small companies, unfortunately, in most cases will be eliminated from the market. For its part, however, the agricultural holding is willing to provide all possible assistance to such companies, which would be purchasing their products for further sale through its own channels. In general, the market of “fresh products” will decline by hundreds of thousands of tons compared to last year – all companies should be ready for such a turn of events.

Another interesting question was about the dependence of the agricultural holding on imported supplies – the host wondered what impact has the depreciation of the ruble had on the company? Alexander Rudakov assured that this time all the risks were foreseen in advance: the increased cost of Euro currency has not affected the current agreements. Besides, there is a gradual replacement of imported equipment with domestic analogues, which are as good as European ones.

The interview also covered sanitary measures at production facilities, the format of work during the pandemic, as well as recommendations for businessmen on how to work in crisis conditions.

Watch the interview in video format on RBC website.