After a two-year break Russia is back to the large agricultural trade fair held in Berlin. Around 20 companies from 15 regions have presented achievements of the Russian agriculture at Green Week.
The Russian delegation headed by Evgeniy Gromyko, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Russia, familiarised themselves with the displays and took part in the business program.
The German-Russian Forum focused on the capabilities of the two countries in ensuring global food safety. The event was attended by representatives of the ministries of agriculture of Russia and Germany, German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, German-Russian Agricultural and Political Dialogue and businessmen.
Evgeniy Gromyko spoke about the performance of the Russian farming sector. An impressive harvest — 140 million tonnes of grain — was reaped last year, thus solving the issue of food safety in 10 types of products.
‘If in 2001, Russia was the largest importer, then in 2017 export of farming products reached 20 million dollars. The trend is going to continue.’
According to Mr. Gromyko, production of biological commodities has good market opportunities, since the demand in the global market is growing faster than the supply. Despite political challenges, the deputy minister believes that Russia and Germany have more common points than differences. Among promising avenues of cooperation between the two countries, he mentioned farming machinery trading, plant breeding, seed production, and genetics.
Speaking about agri-business in Russia, Stefan Duerr, President of EkoNiva Group, emphasised that the current framework conditions in Russia are very favourable for investors, so if anyone is considering working in Russia, now is the time to start, while land is still available.
Another point made by Stefan Duerr was that there had been a shift in the public opinion on farming in general and farmers in particular.
‘My daughter used to be embarrassed to admit that her dad was a farmer. Now she is proud of my work.’
The Russian farmer with German roots also gave a long-term outlook for the dairy industry. He believes that in five to six years the supply of agricultural products in Russia will exceed the demand, so it is important to take action now and explore export markets.
Stefan Duerr also took part in the congress of German Federation of Rural Youth. He shared experience with the young colleagues, elaborated on the specifics of doing business in Russia. The presentation was followed by an hour-long Q&A session.
As a word of encouragement, Stefan Duerr urged the young farmers to be guided by sound judgement, to be responsible for the decisions they take and to be daring in pursuing their dreams.
Mr Duerr also shared how he manages to combine work and family life.
‘Unfortunately, most of the time, I am away. I spend only two days a week with my family’, says Stefan Duerr. ‘But when I am at home, the entire family gets together in the evening, we turn the phones off and talk to each other. And then it doesn’t matter, even if a governor calls — the time is reserved exclusively for the family.’
Wrapping the session up, Stefan Duerr invited the young farmers to EkoNiva for a visit, an internship or work.
‘We are glad to share experience and keen to recruit skilled specialists’, summed up the businessman.
By Svetlana VEBER