Alexander Shagaiev, 15-years experienced agronomist. He has worked in three greenhouses (Seim Agro, in particular). Alexander Shagaiev holds seminars about technologies of vegetables production in greenhouses, he works as an independent consultant for several greenhouses, also as HR manager for greenhouse. There are articles about greenhouse production of vegetables, on the basis of seminars by Alexander Shagaiev, experienced agronomist.
Vegetable consumption in Russia
Vegetable consumption (tomato, eggplant, pepper, cucumber) makes up 2,2-2,4 mln of tones per year. Herewith, high technology greenhouses together with booths produce about 1,2 mln of tones. Tuimazy, Krivyanskay region and Chinese produce about 550 000 tones in plastic greenhouses, the rest – greenhouses of low-capacity. As a result, we need about 1 mln tones of vegetables that we are forced to import. In Russia 1-1,5 kg of greenhouse vegetables are consumed per one inhabitant from December till April (5 stable months). When season comes, people begin consuming open ground vegetables. Greenhouse product is only 5%. Cucumber and tomato make 90% of all vegetables produced in greenhouse. In Russia tomato makes 20% of production in greenhouse. I think in near future it will be 50/50 with cucumber because people will load up with cucumber next year. All greenhouses that produce smooth cucumber will not begin producing pollen cucumber because they have to grow tomato.
Herewith the price for tomato was very high until July 1st. First six months they took RUB 6,500 from 1m2. This figure is rather fine for those who had tomatoes, they succeeded. Those who had cucumber, even have not earned at all. Greenhouse products number has increased in Russia. This is due to raise of technological aspects of production, using photoculture. Thus, 2016 year will see record amount of products, even if there was little sunlight in season.
Greenhouse market is rather small in Russia. It is divided into three segments: Greenhouses of Russia, South association of greenhouses (South – Russian Greenhouses), and the new one – Union of Vegetable Producers. All of them are competitors and fight for influence on market and how to divide market budget. They do not want to union in one organization because all of them have their own interests. They say they will sell under lower prices to destroy competitors, but competitors continue existing.
We import bananas from Belarus. Apples 5 times more than they produce. We import so many tomatoes that they cannot produce. There are only three good greenhouses but we do not import from there by trucks.
Kazakhstan is also great importer of vegetables in Russia. However, they import to Siberia, Altay, Ural. Products are not transported to central part of Russia. Also there are no import supplies of tomato from Poland.
Poland exports tomato to Germany, therefore, the greenhouse area is becoming less in the Netherlands. Polish are good at growing tomatoes. They import almost everything to the west, only a few transports to us.
Even Dutch say that floriculture development in Africa (e.g. Kenya) led to bankruptcy of floriculture in the Netherlands. Transportation of Kenyan flowers makes 80% of prime-cost. But these roses cost little even in the Netherlands and no Dutch enterprise can compete with them. The Dutch invested much money into floriculture development, logistics, airplanes purchase, flowers harvest in Kenya. There are mountains and volcano in Kenya, also water is of good quality, light in the foothill, UV burning sunlight at 1600-1900 m and labor power only 1 dollar per day.
In Voronezh, where one greenhouse that almost does not buy anything, there are all the well-known companies working with greenhouses: Schetelig, BioBee, bumblebees, Neoseiulus swirskii production. So, I think in the not too distant future, Voronezh will be the center of greenhouse vegetable growing. According to projects, the construction of new greenhouse complexes will be the most in the Central Federal District. I think the Lipetsk region will become a leader in production, Kursk region, Belgorod region will not be bad at it either, Orel, Tula will build several plants. The Belgorod region is struggling for leadership, but it is unlikely to win, I think Lipetsk region will overtake it. Nine projects have been performed in the Voronezh region, 2 of which are being constructed. Also greenhouse in Semiluki is being built, the other one (Industrial park) is being constructed in Bobrov by Ecoculture Greenhouse. There are 3 cities not far from this place: Bobrov, Voronezh, Liski; the M4 track, there is an atomic power station, there is also a gas pipeline with large diameters and huge volumes of free gas through Ostrogozhsk, which was intended for delivery through the Lugansk region. Now the path is blocked, the pipeline can run a lot of gas, and there is nowhere else to go, so in Voronezh there are very large volumes of free gas and, moreover, this city is the largest region with a rural population in the Central Federal District. Creon company and all the greenhouses say that the most promising region for the construction of greenhouses is the Central Federal District.
At the end of July, a major businessman from Belgorod said he would build a greenhouse for 200 hectares, but he chose a region near Tambov in the city of Michurinsk, he has already broken new ground, and the garden was broken down - I was there a week ago. And now he says that he will not build until he receives guarantees from the state, but he wants to build 200 hectares. This is an agroholding "Rusagro".
How, where and why (what goals are pursued) a greenhouse complex is built - this affects the efficiency of its operation. Whether he will bring income or all its existence will work for loans to pay himself back, not bringing the owner of money, and accordingly material and moral satisfaction. There are factories that started everything greatly, but, unfortunately, they finished very poorly. A typical example of such a plant is the "Pink Garden" (Kaluga region). Very nice greenhouse, very interesting concept, but bankrupt. They stopped investing money into greenhouse, did a lot of things wrong, did a lot of unfinished work. Even plants that grow flowers, despite the high cost of their products, are not insured against bankruptcy. I know a few greenhouses which are now dying and cannot develop and at the same time growing flowers. Therefore, it does not matter what you grow, if you make a lot of mistakes or a lot of unfinished work. If I was asked 3 years ago, I would be a very big supporter of building a flower greenhouse in Kursk, but today I do not want this because of the economic situation in the country. I say, people will spend money on food, children and medicines, everything else will be lost ground. You have always bought clothes for children and you will buy, respectively a segment of what in our area can be produced for children will always work. We have eaten vegetables and will eat them, so there will be demand on them. Growth of vegetables consumption in our country for the last 3 years was 7% - this is all-Russian data. At the same time, they say that over the past year we have built 240 hectares, but no one says that we have closed a lot of greenhouses and we still cannot increase the production of vegetables. We had 36%, it is 37-38%, but we cannot have 40%, we import 60%. Therefore, I do not recommend flowers activity now, although the business is very interesting and should bring a lot of money.
Today I can say that many greenhouses that are being built now in Russia will be bankrupt in a few years, because they do not calculate the situation that exists on the market today. For example, if the management of the plant says that it will only grow lettuce and cucumber, while cultivating a smooth cucumber by Dutch technology, then I tell you that this greenhouse will be bankrupt in 2-3 years. Pay attention to prices, for example: April 26th, 2016 - the date when the greenhouse products are sold very well. The greenhouse from the Central Federal District gave a hybrid Meva on 20 tons at 35 rubles / kg. Meeve smooth cucumber is the main hybrid of "Rijk Zwaan", which are now working on new greenhouses, while unpollen hybrids that produce old plants, such as those in Lipetsk, Stary Oskol, "Kurchatov" , gave the Athlete a hybrid of 95 rubles / Kg. At the same time, there was no good price for cucumber this year.
How to give loans of 5-6 million to build a greenhouse? How to build it, as some say, at 50, 100, even 300 hectares, I totally do not understand. The optimal size of the greenhouse, which can be very actively used, in my understanding, should be about 25-35 hectares. Anything that is large will increase the number of control steps, and it will result in the fact that the greenhouse cannot overcome internal conflicts and misunderstandings. When a large team and everyone has their own tasks, it's not always clear how everything goes on there. Large greenhouses, such as Moscowskiy, Yuzhnyi and others are very difficult to manage. And when someone says that he is going to build a greenhouse for 200 hectares in a city with a population of 50,000 people, God forbid that they built 20 hectares there. Because if you build a greenhouse of 20 hectares, you will look for employees within a radius of 60 km. Therefore, we are coming to the issue of choosing a location for the construction of the greenhouse.
The choice of a place for the construction of a greenhouse is one of the main factors determining the further profitability of the enterprise. There are many different factors affecting the choice of a location for construction. Many people say that greenhouses need to be built in the south, others say that you need to build in moderate climate, someone says that you need to build in the suburbs. I am against construction of greenhouses in the south. The overheating that exists there, requires a lot more work from the agronomist. You spend less money on gas in the South, but more funds for equipment for cooling greenhouses. As in the South the sun is shorter, and a cucumber in its origin,does not like direct sunlight, there it grows worse than in the North. I think that it is better to build greenhouses in the 2nd and 3rd light zones for cucumber and 3-4 zones for tomatoes. I asked my agronomists where is the maximum yield of cucumber in Russia obtained in a greenhouse?" In Severodvinsk! They harvested about 46 kg of cucumber. Tomato not in Krasnodar, but in Ioshkar Ola, they harvested 64.7 kg. I'm talking about a crop without lighting. Krasnodar cannot focus on yield, but it can get a harvest earlier.
Another very simple example. Take three greenhouses that were built in the last 2 years: Lukhovitsk Vegetables LLC, Seim Agro and Agro Park in Glushkovo. The average salary of employees in greenhouse in Lukhovitsy is RUB 38-40 thousand, on the Seim Agro the salary level is RUB 22 thousand, and the salary in Agro Park is RUB 15 thousand. Transportation of cucumber from Agro Park to Moscow is RUB 3 per 1 kg, from Lukhovits - 1 ruble / kg. Only because Lukhovitsky Vegetables are built near Moscow they have problems, with the payment of a loan.
If we speak about Belgorod, then you need to build in Stary Oskol - there is women's unemployment. If speak about Kursk, then you need to build in Kurchatov - there is a nuclear power plant and women's unemployment. In the Lipetsk region it is necessary to build in Yelets and Orel. There is women's unemployment in Orel, the trail, very good water and it is very close to the western border, which means that the climate there is less continental. Why will Kursk never get as many tomatoes as Kiev? Because Kiev more on the west, they have less continental climate. We have not reached this yet, all new greenhouses that are declared for construction are planned to be built either in the Rostov region, or in Stavropol and Krasnodar. However, new large projects to the north were the folloeing: Michurinsk, Lipetsk, Belgorod, Voronezh, four projects in Orel, two in Tula, 2 projects in Smolensk, one in Tver. And they are all closer to the western border and the moderate climate. I think that these are projects that will exist.
The same goes for the rose, but it needs to be moved to the north. It is better to build closer to power plants, where electricity is cheap. Rose needs high quality water with a very low content of carbonates, and our water quality deteriorates from north to south, the so-called outgoing water. For example, water should be a nutrient solution with a concentration of 1.8 mmol, and water already contains 1.5 mmol. Many elements from it need to be removed, and this entails an increase in the number of irrigation and drainage volume, increases clogging of the territory, consumption of fertilizers and acids. And we are going to build new projects for the rose in the North Caucasus, in Kabardino-Balkaria in the village of Mostovskaya, which is on the border of Stavropol. But not in the mountains, they are trying to build near foothills. Ideally, greenhouses growing roses should be built not far from atomic power station: in the Ivanovo region, Udomly, in Cherepovets. It is very convenient place in Udomlya, because the city is located between St. Petersburg and Moscow on the M10, while there are 4 reactors of the from atomic power station and another 4 are going to be built. There is an excessive amount of heat, which can be reused and cheap electricity. But if you build roses in Voronezh near the atomic power station, it is very hot here and you will have to install systems for cooling the greenhouse or build Ultra Climate, this makes the project dearer. But at the same time there are those who say that it is necessary to build in the south. It is necessary to build where there is good water, transport communication and cheap female labor.
From the seminar of Alexander Yakovlevich Shagaev, an agronomist consultant with 15 years of experience in greenhouses.
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