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Cluster vs. import

Kamchatka farmers appreciate the advantages of the agro-industrial cluster

Cluster vs. import
Photo: Kamchatka Krai Cluster Development Center
Since the summer of 2018, an agro-industrial cluster has begun in Kamchatka. The federal initiative came to Kamchatka thanks to the Kamchatka Krai Development Corporation - on the basis of this joint-stock company, the Cluster Development Center was created, which was able to provide new forms of support to small and medium-sized enterprises. The agro-industrial cluster established by 30 in May 2018 of the year included small and medium-sized producers, farmers. About how a small business develops in the agricultural industry, what challenges manufacturers face and what this new form of support as a cluster carries, said Alexander Romanyuk, executive director of the non-commercial partnership Food Producers of Kamchatka Krai.

- How is agriculture developing in Kamchatka in terms of farming, what problems do you have to face?
- We see that the farm is developing. Of course, there are problems, but there is state support in the development of small farms, peasant farms and personal ones. There are a lot of programs aimed at development. This financial support and support in the field of sales, in particular, fairs of local producers. One of the main problems now in the farm in Kamchatka is the lack of continuity. The fact is that some have been working in agriculture for a long time, and there are few young people.

- What is the reason for this and could it become a serious problem for the industry in the future?
- The fact is that our farms, as a rule, are located in villages and towns, distant from cities. Now those who work have already taken place, but their experience practically does not pass on to another generation. The youth is not very eager to continue this work. Young people are just bored in the villages and towns. Of course, in the future this could be a serious problem.

- What is the current agricultural market in the region that is mainly grown and sold?
- Now the Kamchatka market is filled mainly with imported products. If we do not take fish into account, then agriculture is now in Kamchatka — for the most part, growing vegetables. These are cucumbers, carrots, potatoes ... Now there are big harvests of potatoes and these products compete at a good level with imported ones in quality and price. As for horticultural products (tomatoes and cucumbers), we also have the Termalny brand - these products are more expensive than imported ones, but they are in demand, since they are environmentally friendly and tasty cucumbers and tomatoes. In the future, Kamchatka products will be larger, since the market is not busy and is of interest to investors, moreover, all imported products are inferior in quality. In addition, I will note that pig breeding is also actively developing in the region, thanks to which local residents can purchase high-quality products produced in our region.

- How is farmers working in growing vegetables now supported in the region?
- There are programs aimed at development, there are grants. So, farmers can receive several million rubles for free - to cover targeted costs for agribusiness. There is a subsidy program - up to half of the cost of purchased equipment can pay for the region (although there are certain conditions for equipment, depending on the direction). The state is trying to support farmers in Kamchatka.

- What measures of support from the local authorities, the state, we could highlight on the example of “Kamchatka Pishevika”?
- I can only say about those with whom we work as a partnership of food producers. We have the most popular measure of support - rent subsidies at Kamchatka manufacturers' trade fairs, quarterly subsidized 50% of the rental price for enterprises that have entered into agreements with the Ministry of Agriculture of the region. The agency approves a mark-up, according to which the company can sell its products, and subject to this rule, and a number of others, the company shall submit documents and receive compensation at the end of the quarter.

- Now the network of local producers' fairs is actively developing in Kamchatka ...
- Yes, there are more participants. The main team of the fair are members of our partnership, but not all food producers in our region are members of a partnership. When they find out about us and our work, the willingness to assist, they come, we accept them. Some, without entering into a partnership, simply come to the fair and work. And they, too, can receive a subsidy from the budget.

- This form of support as a cluster - how useful is it for the agro-industrial business in Kamchatka?
- For us, this phenomenon is quite new. Today, we, as cluster members, receive comprehensive advice, including on the development of new projects. For the most part, people working on the land simply do not own new economic instruments. And the Cluster Development Center advises us on a wide range of issues, sponsors research. We provide financial support - some of our projects are sponsored in the amount of up to 90%, including fairs, marketing research and research. Agricultural producers often cannot independently pay for expensive research. And here, in fact, we get useful developments by supporting the Center for Cluster Development of the Kamchatka Territory and have the opportunity to immediately apply them.
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