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RBC reports on greenhouse business prospects

As part of the “Delovoy Den” (Business Day) program, the RBC TV channel has issued a story dedicated to investments in the greenhouse business. Alexander Rudakov, the President of the Eco-Culture agricultural holding, was invited for the participation as one of the industry experts.

First of all, the host stated the following facts: in Russia, the greenhouse business is considered one of the most profitable. Thus, according to Rosselkhozbank calculations, the profitability of greenhouse vegetable producers increased by almost 10 percent over the year and made 52-54 percent. This is not just a good indicator for business, but a particularly great one.

According to the Vedomosti newspaper, starting from 2015 businessmen in Russia have invested 200 billion rubles in the construction of more than 1,100 hectares of new greenhouses. The results it yielded are obvious – according to the National Union of Fruit and Vegetable Producers, today our country is completely self-supplied with cucumbers and does not need this crop to be imported. The development of the domestic greenhouse business was stimulated by sanctions and the devaluation of the national currency. Imported products had to be replaced by domestic ones when possible, and these can be grown only indoors outside the season.

Aleksandr Rudakov confirmed the figures voiced about the profitability of greenhouse enterprises. However, he also noted that profitability was even higher a few years ago. With higher costs for electricity, logistics, and packaging in 2019-20, the profit margin has decreased. Still, ECO-culture continues to move forward according to the course set. The holding is building new greenhouses and is willing to keep doing so. The company has a strategic development plan, which it does not intend to deviate from.

However, not everything is so rosy for the whole industry. According to the President of the agricultural holding, maintaining profitability at the level of 45-55 percent can be only achieved by large farms with access to high-margin markets. Another important thing is personnel competence at all production levels. And whereas ECO-culture can afford to pay a good salary to both the main agriculturist and ordinary employees, small farms have no such opportunity, which inevitably affects the result.

When asked by the host about the prospects of greenhouse vegetables off-season sale against the background of declining people’s incomes, Aleksandr Rudakov pointed out that according to the observations of the company’s marketing department, there are no problems with sales so far. Moreover, there are excellent prospects for growth, especially for tomatoes. About 50 percent of these vegetables on the shelves are now imported: domestic producers plan to completely squeeze the foreigners out of the market. The president of the largest agricultural holding believes that a four-year period of work in the scheduled regime will be enough for that to be accomplished.

At the end of the talk, the participants discussed the situation with fresh vegetables in the remote regions of our country and came up with effective suggestions on how to solve the problems.

Watch the full version of the show on the RBC channel.