Minnikhanov to regional leaders: ‘Some of our colleagues have a very bad attitude to milk”

The Tatarstan president criticised municipalities for bad performance and universities for insufficient scientific research at a session of the Ministry of Agriculture

Minnikhanov to regional leaders: ‘Some of our colleagues have a very bad attitude to milk”
Photo: tatarstan.ru

A three-day agricultural exposition TatAgroExpo 2020 opened in Kazan-Expo exhibition centre on 12 February. Opening the business agenda of this event, the president of Tatarstan participated at an extended session of the republican Ministry of Agriculture, which Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent visited. In his speech, Rustam Minnikhanov criticised some regional leaders for lowering indicators in agricultural produce, indicated agricultural universities’ rectors’ shortcomings and asked them to eliminate them. Read more about this in our report.

Not only to buy equipment but also repair it

According to Tatarstan’s Minister of Agriculture Marat Zyabbarov, the level of wear of the agricultural machinery fleet in Tatarstan is evaluated at 60%, this is why it should be renewed more actively. And, in Rustam Minnikhanov’s opinion, it would be incorrect to limit to purchases of new machinery only: it is necessary to seriously repair already existing tractors, combines and other machines. The president considers that such work needs to be entrusted only to specialised enterprises that can provide a guarantee for their work.

“We have already had experience in repairing KAMAZ lorries in the republic’s backbone enterprises. There are small enterprises that repair foreign agricultural machines three times cheaper. One thing is to allocate money to purchase new equipment, but we should create a system to maintain a good technical state of machines and equipment,” Rustam Minnikhanov is sure.

In Rustam Minnikhanov’s opinion, it would be incorrect to limit to purchases of new machinery only: it is necessary to seriously repair already existing tractors, combines and other machines. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

To refuse substandard seeds and use more fertilisers

In his report, the president indicated a difference in crop harvest, which is seen in every household: if successful enterprises receive no less than 40 centners of grains per hectare, their unlucky rivals do 20 at best. Minnikhanov thinks the use of substandard seeds and unreasonable economy of fertilisers are the reason for such non-compliance.

“We lost 300,000 tonnes of grains every year because of bad-quality seeds. It is necessary to pay attention to this problem. Fertilisers are another important theme, 25 kilogrammes per hectare is too little. It is necessary to look for financial schemes that allow using more. We, in turn, provide all supporting measures. Yes, the amount of federal subsidies is limited, but let’s work with the ministry, perhaps, we can create some additional resources.”

In addition, according to the president, the Ministry of Agriculture should cooperate with banks better to provide agriculturists with resources they need for a good spring sowing campaign.

Minnikhanov thanked TAIF and Tatneft for supporting Tatarstan agriculturists

But there shouldn’t be any problem with fuel: Tatarstan oil companies have already promised to provide local agriculturists with diesel fuel at concessionary prices.

“Our oil companies render huge support to agriculturists. Both Tatneft and TAIF promised to help this year,” the president noted.

“Let’s give them a round of applause for this, it is serious support.”

According to head of the agriculture ministry Marat Zyabbarov, agricultural entities of Tatarstan consume over 180,000 tonnes of fuel in total, of which 140,000 tonnes are supposed to be obtained at preferential prices.

According to head of the agriculture ministry Marat Zyabbarov, agricultural entities of Tatarstan consume over 180,000 tonnes of fuel in total. Photo: tatarstan.ru

Mendeleyevsk District is outsiders in milk production

Tatarstan is a leader among Russian regions in raw milk production. This type of production is one of the key income sources for the republic’s agricultural enterprises. In his speech, Rustam Minnikhanov singled out the regions that lead in “white gold” production and criticised outsiders.

“Production in Kukmor exceeded 300 tonnes of milk a day, it is a big victory, huge labour. Atna District has 265 tonnes, Baltasi — 246 tonnes, Saba — 209 tonnes. These municipalities systematically work with milk well. But some of our colleagues have a very bad attitude to milk,” the head of the republic complained. “It is Mendeleyevsk District (14 tonnes a day), Cheremshan (17 tonnes), Bugulma (17 tonnes), Kama Ustye (20 tonnes)… 20 tonnes a day now is a production volume of a normal leading household, and here it is how much the whole district produces… How do households operate in these municipalities? How do they plan to run the business? Because it is necessary to provide people with jobs.”

It is noteworthy that as a leader in gross milk production, Tatarstan is even not in the top 10 Russian regions in productivity, that’s to say, the average milk yield per cow. The president assumed that it might happen due to the specifics of statistics, however, he urged the Ministry of Agriculture to pay attention to stock breeding, cattle selection.

Supporting measures for enterprises with no activity

The president in his speech talked about state supporting measures too that the federal and republican budgets provide agriculturists with. It turns out that not all investments work well.

“I was given information that some cooperative societies that received support that don’t run their activity. These materials were sent to the court, but somebody should have looked carefully before giving support,” Minnikhanov reminded. “We don’t have extra money, I am asking to make sure everything strictly complies with the regulations approved by the republic’s government. Those who give and receive public money must feel personal responsibility.”

According to Rosselkhoznadzor, only 8 out of 43,000 abandoned hectares started to be used again last year. Photo: tatarstan.ru

To take abandoned land away from negligent owners

There are enough fields in Tatarstan that haven’t been used. According to Russia’s agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor that Rustam Minnikhanov cited, only 8 out of 43,000 abandoned hectares started to be used again last year. The president had most complaints about Verkhny Uslon, Laishevo, Almetyevsk and Zelenodolsk Districts.

“Not only the districts are guilty here, some owners that have an unclear stance. They should use all legal methods more: both in taxation and punishment. Every case must be considered together with regional leaders. All services — Rosselkhoznadzor, Ministry of Agriculture, Russian Roster — should join this work,” the president urged. “I have an aide who should deal with these issues. It is land, we should care about it because we won’t have more of it. Every centimetre has a value, and not only we but also the next generations should reap the benefits this land gives. The task is not to take parcels away from someone but to make sure the land benefits those who live on it.”

Export: focus on halal

The agricultural complex of Tatarstan hasn’t so far reached estimated indicators of exports. The president asked the audience to create all possibilities of increasing exports. Rustam Minnikhanov sees a lot of room in selling halal agricultural produce.

“We have good relationships with OIC countries, we could promote halal produce through these tools,” the president thinks. “We should bring our potential to light during Kazan Summit we will have in summer as much as possible.”

The agricultural complex of Tatarstan hasn’t so far reached scheduled indicators of exports. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

“Rural territories should be as attractive as our cities”

Ensuring the conservation of a sufficient population in the countryside is one of the key strategic tasks of the agro-industrial complex. For this purpose, it is necessary to not only provide people with jobs but also create a comfortable environment to live in settlements.

“Rural territories should be as attractive as our cities. All the necessary infrastructure must be created there. Now we are implementing a big programme designed to build houses, but if we build them only near big cities, nobody will be living in the countryside soon, everyone will move to the city. This is why we should create jobs there and find tools to support private housing development in the countryside,” Minnikhanov is convinced.

Moreover, the president asked his subordinates to continue supporting private households, including through cooperation.

“We won’t be able to keep them by force”

A big role in the training of specialists for the agro-industrial complex is attributed to the agrarian university and veterinarian academy. According to Minnikhanov, all universities should work for the countryside’s needs, but it is also necessary to create comfortable conditions there to make sure that their graduates return to the countryside.

“We won’t be able to keep them by force”, the president stated. “We should completely review the whole system: where we take them from, what training they take and how they will succeed in the future.”

Moreover, agrarian universities got their portion of the republican leader’s criticism for their insufficiently active scientific research.

“Our veterinary academy had only 3 patents in 2019, the agrarian university did 27. But your task is not only to teach, but you should also create new approaches, new scientific products,” the president concluded.

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By Vitaly Akhmetov
Tatarstan