Mushroom farming will be included in the import substitution programme

Ministry of Agriculture plants to opt out of import, currently amounting to 90%

Ministry of Agriculture intends to support the development of mushroom farms within the framework of import substitution programme. A working group was formed in late June. Its mission is to increase mushroom production and eliminate the need of import. Currently, 90% of mushrooms are delivered from abroad. Group’s mission is to determine the state support measures which will further lead to the soaring increase of mushroom production. Experts think that it is required not only to subsidise the production, but also  cut the price to make local mushrooms competitive.

By order dated 20 June 2017, the working group started its activity. According to the prepared document, the main goals are the generation of proposals and coordination of activities aimed at improving the situation in the industry. The leader of the group is the First Deputy Minister of Agriculture Jambulat Khatuov.

A member of the working group, Deputy General Director of the Association “Russian Greenhouses” Vladimir Podzemelnykh informed “Izvestia” about the agenda. According to it, first, it is planned to discuss state support for commercial production of mushrooms.

“At the moment, the subsidies do not extent to this production. That is not right, because the demand for champignons, shiitake, and other mushrooms is high”, – states Mr. Podzemelnykh, “Only 10% of all mushrooms are grown locally”.

Vladimir Podzemelnykh noted that the Working Group would calculate the area of allocated land and greenhouses to form the state support project.

“The goal is to harvest about 70k tonnes of mushrooms. So far, lack of funds is the main obstacle in achieving this goal. The President of Mushroom Producers’ Union Anatoliy Firsov states that subsidies will force imported products out of Russian shelves.

“If the government supports the construction of production facilities through funding, we will eat local champignon within two or three years”, he said, “So far, we face with illegal flow of food from abroad.

Vadim Zuikov, President of the National Trade Association, thinks that subsidies alone will not solve the problem. “It should be noted that mushroom production is not the cheapest one. I think, it is required to reduce the cost in order to increase the demand. But of course, state support enables growers to make their products cheaper”, said Mr. Zuikov.