Roadmap for Russian Fruit and Berry Industry Development
Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko has approved a roadmap for the accelerated development of fruit and berry production in Russia until 2023. The document is intended to remove serious barriers that prevent Russia from achieving self-sufficiency in fruits and berries. There are all the possibilities for this including climatic zones, technologies, investors and a capacious domestic market.
Abramchenko recalled that with the threshold value for fruits and berries set in the Doctrine of at least 60%, Russia's self-sufficiency was estimated at 38.7% last year. With a rational rate of consumption of fruits and berries of 100 kg per year per capita per year, this figure has remained at the level of 60-63 kg over the past five years. In addition, there is now a shortage of high-performance resources, modern and technologically advanced fruit storage facilities, equipment, packaging and sorting lines, which allow preserving the harvest and ensuring the supply of high-quality and safe Russian goods.
In order to strengthen self-sufficiency in fruits and berries, it is necessary to comprehensively approach the formation of the entire Russian fruit and berry sector. This requires the improvement of existing measures of state infrastructure support and the development of mechanisms for the sale of products. The roadmap involves the introduction of intensive production technologies, providing the sector with modern technology and equipment, as well as stimulating the production and sale of high-yielding planting material and ensuring product access to foreign markets. Also, as one of the measures to support the sector, it is considered to exclude apples, pears, quinces and plums from the list of goods that developing countries can supply to the EAEU with tariff preferences. The Ministry of Agriculture and industry associations should work out this issue by the end of the second quarter of 2021.
To obtain own high-quality planting material, it is planned to create a subprogram for the development of nursery and horticulture within the framework of the Federal Scientific and Technical Program for the development of agriculture for 2017-2025. It is also planned to establish increasing subsidy coefficients when laying berry plantations. Earlier, Kommersant, reported that the Ministry of Agriculture was considering the possibility of ending subsidizing the establishment of orchards using imported planting material. However, for example, the Fruit and Vegetable Union believes that supporting the establishment of orchards only with domestic planting material, which is not enough now, or the establishment of increasing factors for those who use domestic seedlings, may lead to negative consequences for the industry. In particular, this may threaten with an increase in prices for Russian planting material, a drop in its quality due to a decrease in competition and a slowdown in the pace of laying new orchards.
Initially three proposals for the development of the industry were sent to the Ministry of Agriculture: to deprive state support of gardeners using imported seedlings, not to import apples from September to December, and to increase subsidies for the construction of refrigerators. The first measure is necessary in order to completely switch to domestic material and “not sponsor foreign suppliers”, and to enable Russia to create all conditions for providing the market with local planting materials. Now domestic goods in this industry account for 60-65%.
According to the President of the Association of Russian Gardeners, it is necessary to stop importing apples from September to December because during this period the Russian apple market is oversaturated and additional import from abroad only creates problems with the storage and sale of Russian goods. Also, it is necessary to increase subsidies for the construction of cold storage facilities from the current 20% to at least 60-70%.