A greenhouse capital

The Belgorod region is one of the most dynamic agroindustrial areas in Russia. Best practices of meat livestock breeding have formed the basis for setting new ambitious goals in crop farming. The regional authorities settled on greenhouse vegetable import substitution by the local producers in 2012. As a result, the 500-ha Greenhouse Cluster concept was developed for the construction of greenhouse complexes in the Belgorod region, aimed to cover 10–12% of domestic protected ground vegetable market. The regional administration expects the concept implementation to achieve a status of Russian greenhouse capital.

The 500-ha Greenhouse Cluster concept including 500 ha of modern greenhouses, to occupy at least 10–12% of the Russian market, was designed by the Razvitiye Corporation. By estimates, the construction cost of the next-gen greenhouse complex totals around 150–180m RUB per ha, with ROI as of 17–23%. Product shipping within 300 km reach will be directly carried out to outdoor wholesale markets and large chains. While Moscow and Saint Petersburg retail chains will receive products via the distribution centres throughout 2-3 days after the yield. The corporation’s top priority is eco-friendliness, which will distinguish Belgorod vegetables from the imported ones, and comply with one of the Russian food security doctrine provisions running that domestic protected ground vegetable supply should be at least 80%.

A total of six greenhouse projects are supported by the Razvitiye Corporation. The biggest one is the construction of Arkadiy Abramovich’s Grinhaus complex. Its production capacity is projected at 108 ha, with annual yield as of 93 k t of vegetables. The project investment is estimated at more than 6 bn RUB.

The first large-scale greenhouse project in the Belgorod region was implemented by Teplitsy Belogorya in 2012. The company has invested over 3bn RUB in the construction of 20 ha of greenhouses as of 5.04 k t of cucumbers, 4.42 k t of tomatoes and 1.685 million lettuce heads. As reported by Anatoliy Tarasov, Company Director, initially only half the complex was expected to be supplementary lighted, but consequently top management decided on full supplementary lighting. Now the enterprise absorbs 649m RUB, loaned from Sberbank and supported by the national SME development corporation. The company intends to expand the supplemental lighting greenhouse area from 12.9 up to 18.9 ha, and reduce power cost from 4.7 to 2.2 RUB per kW, by means of onsite generation. Moreover, project implementation will allow gathering extra 1–1.5 k t of products annually.

Teplichniy complex Belogorya started building the facility 4.1bn RUB worth in 2015. The company built greenhouses as of 14.7 ha and 11 k t of vegetables per annum. The complex also comprised the packaging house, ablution facilities, dining and other technical and administrative facilities. Power and heat is supplied by Italian gas piston CHP units. The project also featured the construction of the residential project.

The regional authorities also develop vegetable storage capacities. In particular, PKM-Agro has built the deep freeze facility 530m RUB worth with a capacity of 15 k t of products annually. The enterprise is equipped with Kabinplant (Denmark) processing line, two low-temperature warehouses as of 14.7 k europallets, and a deli meat line.

To achieve the final concept goal, the corporation experts are engaged in attracting more investors in the regional greenhouse cluster. In the next 2-3 years, it is necessary to attract investors for over 150 ha of greenhouses. Regional authorities are ready to provide 5 land plots with an overall area of 737 ha, with potential 357 ha of greenhouses. In addition to the existing investor preferences, stipulating for 5% concessional loaning and 20% reimbursement, the Belgorod region offers its own support measures, including the property tax privilege as of 0.1% for the payback period, and preferential gas and power connection, as well as ready investment platforms connected to the FGC UES grid.

The current share of Belgorod greenhouse vegetables accounts for 3.4% of the national production. It is among top 5 Russian regions for greenhouse vegetable yield gain – as a result of 2016, the performance totalled 9.3 k t. A total of 88,1bn RUB of crop farming produce was yielded in Belgorod during the year. A total of 27.6 k t of vegetables were grown in the region, including 19.8 k t o cucumbers, 7.1 k t of tomatoes and 650 t of lettuce. As for the greenhouse area (68.9 ha – 2.2% from country’s total) the Belgorod region is among top 20 Russian regions ranking 14, as a result of 2016.

Supported by the Razvitiye Corporation of the Belgorod region , there are test greenhouses arranged at the premises of Gorin’s Belgorod State Agrarian university, Stary Oskol Agrotechnological college, and Belgorod National Research University. The key purpose is application of advanced materials and equipment at the training stage, and young talents attraction in the regional economy.

In order to assess the progress of the regional 500-ha Greenhouse Cluster concept and mushroom farming projects, Arkadiy Muravyev, President of the Greenhouse Association, visited the Belgorod region in 2017. The meeting featured Director of Razivitye Corporation Mikhail Savchenko, Deputy CEO of Agrotip Denis Pekarskiy, Manager of Grinhaus Sergey Bobrovskiy, and Head of the Line Department at Corporation Mikhail Korolev. The delegation visited the Premix plant 1 in the Shebekinsky area, where the enterprise management demonstrated the product mycelia. Furthermore, the delegates discussed the outlook for using Altek equipment for the construction of greenhouse and mushroom complexes.

The delegates paid extra attention to the issues of high-qualification professional training in the greenhouse industry. As reported by Yuriy Parshukov, Director of Stary Oskol Agrotechnological college, the project of dual training for the greenhouse industry enables graduating at least 100 specialists of protected ground annually. Project organisers pin their hopes on the project, for its opportunity to ensure high quality training and further facilitate the implementation of import substitution projects. Arkadiy Muravyev promised to provide the adequate training programme. The Management of industrial association highly estimated the activity of the corporation and regional authorities, as a result of the meeting.

Source: Kommersant Voronezh