Minister of Agriculture of Tatarstan: “Milk is white oil”
The agro-industrial complex of Tatarstan has successfully survived the pandemic and is now ready to provide the republic with 100% of its products, Marat Zyabbarov, the head of the ministry of agriculture of the republic, reported on 19 August. In general, Tatarstan maintains its leading position in the country in terms of agricultural development, and the agro-industrial complex itself is becoming more and more technological, which causes interest in professions in this area among the residents of the republic. Read more about rural life in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
Milk is the “white oil” of Tatarstan
Tatarstan is one of the leading regions in a number of agricultural sectors. The republic is the undisputed leader in the production of milk: as Marat Zyabbarov, the minister of agriculture and food of Tatarstan, said during an online conference on social networks, 6% of the volume of Russian milk is produced on the territory of the republic. More than 4,000 tonnes of milk are produced daily, which is 102,8% compared to last year.
Almost all milk is processed at the republic's dairies, there are more than 20 of them in the republic. That is why Zyabbarov called milk “white oil”.
The republic is also developing in other areas of agriculture: more than 30 livestock complexes for 16,000 cows are being built.
“We have big plans for the construction of new livestock complexes," said the head of the ministry of agriculture and food of Tatarstan. “But we focus not only on increasing the number of livestock but also on its productivity. Therefore, we are introducing new technologies, digitalisation, and a feeding management system.
How agribusiness workers become “white-collar workers”
Among such technologies, Zyabbarov named the already famous “fitness bracelets”, which are attached to the legs of cows and analyze the health of animals. This gadget shows a lot of information — for example, a veterinarian can use the bracelet data to understand whether a cow is sick and with what exactly. Information from this bracelet is transmitted to the phone of the veterinarian and the head of the farm. Previously, it was necessary to go around the entire farm, and here's no guarantee that a problem will be noticed.
In his speech, Zyabbarov noted that such an innovation turns the stereotypically “dirty” work of the stockbreeder into an office job. Now the day of a specialist on a cow farm begins not with a visit to the cowshed, but at the computer, where all the information is transmitted — like of an ordinary office worker.
The minister also said that many agricultural professions now require much broader competencies — knowledge of high technologies for a tractor driver or a specialist in animal husbandry, knowledge of economics for an agronomist.
By the way, the salaries of agricultural specialists can significantly exceed office salaries. Zyabbarov said that for a month and a half of the harvesting campaign, the combine operator usually earns 100-130 thousand rubles, however, it should be borne in mind that combine operators often work in this capacity during the harvesting campaign, and then occupy other positions in other industries. For example, milkers earn about 50-60 thousand rubles a month. Taking into account new technologies, milking cows is no longer considered “dirty” production.
In this regard, the host of the online even had the question: will there be unemployment in the agricultural sector due to the development of new technologies that will displace human workers?
“In recent years, much has been done to increase productivity, which leads to a decrease in the number of workers. But without this, there will be no future for production. We must create jobs through the creation of additional enterprises. If everything goes as it goes, we will not be competitive," Zyabbarov answered.
With what “bonuses” they attract workers to the village
Zyabbarov reminded that Tatarstan has programmes to create jobs, increase business activity in rural areas, work with young people, and preserve the rural way of life. Within the framework of such programmes over the past 9 years, 1,381 peasant farms in Tatarstan received support for 4 billion rubles, including 152 farms for 889,2 million rubles this year.
Each such farm employs at least 3-4 people, depending on its volume. In total, according to these programmes, more than 2,000 people are provided with jobs in rural areas.
Currently, these farms keeps 103,4 thousand head of cattle. This is 31 thousand more head than it was in 2013, including the number of cows increased by 10 thousand head. Besides, the number of poultry farmers with 1,2 million head in nine years has almost doubled — to 2 million heads, Zyabbarov added.
There are programmes that support agricultural workers and not through the ministry of agriculture of the republic. For example, women under the age of 25 are paid 50 thousand at the birth of the first child, 100 thousand — women under 29 years of age at the birth of the third and subsequent child. The programmes of the ministry of healthcare of the republic, for example, on the construction of medical centres and other infrastructure projects, also affect life in rural areas.
Besides, for students of agricultural universities, there are special increased scholarships (up to 10 thousand, not counting nominal scholarships of the ministry), one-time installation grants of 300 thousand and an additional payment of 7,5 thousand during the first year of work. The “rural mortgage” programme plays an important role, which has been in operation in Tatarstan since March and gives the opportunity to get a loan for housing at 3%.
Why citizens become farmers
After the minister's story, questions of this nature started coming directly to the chat programme: “We want to become farmers, how do we start?" Zyabbarov said that within the framework of the ministry, the Centre of competence for the development of agricultural cooperation in the Republic of Tatarstan State Institution was created, and with such an intention, one can contact the specialists of this centre.
“You need to understand what you want and start preparing a business plan. We will show you how it all works. And after that, you need to defend within the framework of grants," Zyabbarov said, adding that the centre's specialists will help novice farmers make a business plan.
According to the minister, Tatarstan has examples of successful farmers from among the “urban” people without any agricultural background.
“We have such examples, we often try to show them. In the Laishevsky district, there is a family without agricultural education. They sold their business in Kazan, their housing, came to the district, they had their own land, built a small house. They bought livestock. And today they successfully work," Zyabbarov told.
Most often, the minister continued, such people are tired of the urban rhythm of life, and therefore look for themselves in agriculture.
“Someone gets tired of living in Kazan — the bustle of the city. There you are left to yourself, the task is set, you need only to work.
Tatarstan is one hundred per cent provided with agricultural products
During the online session, they couldn't help but touch on the consequences of the pandemic — Marat Zyabbarov said that the ministry has done a great job to prevent the virus from entering the territory of the agro-industrial complex. Taking into account the specifics of production, the disease of one person could lead to that at least an entire shift at the enterprise would go on sick leave.
“We observed all sanitary norms. We have not been affected. There were one-time small cases, one or two people — such people were immediately sent to isolation and treatment," Zyabbarov told.
Commenting on the situation with the shortage of some goods in stores in the first days of the restrictive measures, Zyabbarov noted: the republic provides itself with 100% milk, meat, eggs, bread, more than three times — sugar, vegetable oil — six times. Fruit is usually imported from outside the republic.
“We don't see any problems with vegetables on retail shelves. In the beginning, there was a rush, everyone bought up. But there were not enough products because food chains did not have time to fill warehouses physically," the minister explained
Besides, Zyabbarov announced the return of agricultural fairs — the first will be held in major cities of the republic on 19 September, on Saturday.
Now, according to Zyabbarov, farmers are lining up to participate in these fairs, as the products there are sold instantly. “Sometimes we go around our fairs, you arrive — but the car is empty. Because from seven o'clock they stood and waited," the minister said.